Powerhouse Van Ginkel revels in midfield role….

Marco van Ginkel’s parents were present in Israel to watch their son play the first games for Oranje at the EC. Marco’s dad Alex was a pro player for FC Utrecht in the 1980s but he has surpassed his feats by a long stretch by now.

His dad played nine Eredivisie games for Utrecht and three European Cup games, but a serious knee injury put an end to his career. “He scored the equaliser against Hellas Verona,” van Ginkel is proud to reiterate. “But yes, I guess I have surpassed him now.” Van Ginkel already got his hare for the senior Oranje and has now also taken over form Clasie in the starting eleven of the Under 21s.

Powerhouse Van Ginkel was named Man of the Match after the win over Russia. A short interview.
You had a great night against Russia
Van Ginkel: ‘Yes I did and we all did. Scoring 5, winning the three points and going through to the semis.’Was your dad here?

‘He saw the first two yes, with my mum, my inlaws and my girlfriend. He is proud. Well, the whole village is proud I think. My family and friends are all following the tournament. It’s a big thing for them and that is cool. It motivates me even more.’You want to play the last game in this group, against Spain? You don’t want to be rested?
‘I can’t say that, it’s not up to me. And everyone has something, little pains or a knock. And I don’t have to play, per se of course. But I would love to. I don’t have any physical issues, so…. But the team manager gets to decide so I better not talk about it.’

You are the defensive midfielder. With as special task, stopping the offensive midfielder of the opponent.
‘Yep, first Holtby of Germant and then Dzagojev of Russia. And I’m doing well. I am not really  a holding mid but I think I can do this too. I simply make sure I am in his face, continiously. I use my body and when I can I leave him behind and make him chase me. I have that power and my endurance and I know I can get opponents to pull their hair out, hahaha. They won’t be able to get their rhythm and I can then go and do what I am good at.’Van Hanegem says in his column that the coach should use you in the offensive midfielders role.

‘Sure, and I can. That is my position more. But we won twice and it’s not up to me, right? So why change a winning team? THis is a different role for me as I need to defend more, and less opportunity to go deep, but that is how it is.’Although you will always look for the space to go.

‘Yes, that is how I play. Whenever I see the gap, I have the feeling I want to exploit it. This is how I could play that cross to De Jong against Russia.’ 

What should you improve in your game?

‘I tend to be sloppy at times. I lost possession too many times against Russia in a silly way. Those things, I have to let go from my game. I think tactically, I still have a distance to go.’


Wat are you strong points as dynamic midfielder?

‘I think I am the complete package. I am a real box-to-box midfielder. I have power, speed, endurance and I can score a goal or set up a goal. I don’t mind a physical challenge. I can work my ass off and I can play football too.’

Who was or is your role model as a player?

‘That used to be Steve Gerrard. He too is strong in defensive and offensive sense and is always important for the team. Bastian Schweinsteiger is another player I admire.’
So tell me about your new club? Will it be Ajax or Chelsea?

‘Come on! I read those stories too. But for now I am fully focused on the job at hand here.


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  1. Apologies for the lousy layout… Not sure what happened :-(.


    Wanna rain on everyone’s parade a bit.

    But let me say this first: I like Van Ginkel A LOT!!! I am not anti MVG. Ok?

    But…. in this current team, the midfield indeed doesn’t gel well enough.

    The counter argument of Pot (and Van Ginkel) to Van Hanegem saying “huh? We did well in two matches” is not very valid.

    Our second half against Germany was shambolic at times.

    Our first half was good thanks to a weak and nervous Germany.

    Against 11 Russians we did not play great. Against 10 Russians we first conceded even…. I feared a 2-2 scenario at some stage.

    Our forwards are SOOO talented that they can correct flaws in the back.

    And saying “Van Ginkel had a great cross for De Jong” doesn’t cut it either.

    We have a right winger already who should have been crossing balls in…

    We need a player who is available for our defence, sitting deep in the Scholes/Xavi role. Who can distribute fast and precise.

    We do not need two box to box lads. We need one, we have full backs for the overlap, we have 4 forwards, it’s enough!

    We need brains and fast feet in midfield.

    In the Germany AND Russia game, I counted at least 15 situations where one GOOD pass could have put De Jong, John, Maher or Wijnaldum free for the goalie. And all these times the pass never came or was not precise enough.

    I am not kidding. Against Spain or Italy, I do fear a bit.

    And again, I have nothing against Van Ginkel. I actually would rather see Strootman go, but that won’t happen, I think


    PS Willem van Hanegem is right

    PPS He always is

    1. In terms of box-to-box ability, I prefer Van Ginkel to Strootman. Again, this is if I see it from current form.

      I think coach Pot has been over-considering Clasie’s stamina problem. There’s some issue about him getting cramped muscle too easy on heated day. I hope I’m wrong, though.

  2. All we need to win this WC is replace Devrij with Hoorn and use a real security guard before back line.Stroot is not doing his primary duty……….

  3. forwards OLa,wijnaldum and midfeilder MVG an maher are so creative,they will create chances and they will find goals.and they are really capable of scoring at least 2 goals against spain and italy…the question is how much we will concede????3/4??????

  4. Oranje starting XI against China: Vorm; Tiendalli, Heitinga, Vlaar, Nelom; De Guzman, Toornstra, Sd Jong; Lens, Van Persie, Robben.

    No sneijder, hopefully we will see duarte in 2nd half, nelom was not good last time, and he is not orange material at this moment, why LVG did not call Butneer?

  5. Full time. Two goals: RVPs penalty from the spot; Sneijdertje’s sweet flick.

    Chinese swarmed effectively, with little offense and only a couple of good counters. Still, they played very well to keep the score down to two with only ten men. We looked a little tired and slow, even sloppy. The pitch looked soft, and astroturf ringed the pitch, making several players slip when they went outside the lines.

    First ever international between Neth and China.

    1. No one questions his class,its his fitness,i have seen babel scoring classy goals..question is his over all play and how he is contributing against strong team in tight running match.Van ginkel can do the same with better work rate.

  6. It wasn’t just his goal. Sneijder was everywhere in the second half. He was dropping back next to JDG2 to get the ball,spreading it around with high accuracy, and constantly making himself an option. He also threw in an important tackle or two

  7. Excellent article Jan, don´t worry for the “lousy layout”

    I agree with you about the idea to use Clasie instead one of the two (or four) box to box. IMO Strootman should be on the bench.

    The fact (and great problem) is that we have a 4 very good box-to-box players (Strootman, Van Ginkel, Fer, Vilenha), 2 greats OM (Maher and Van Ginkel) and only one natural DM (Clasie)

    IMO Clasie should be our DM in this ECU21 and in the next WC. He is a wonderful player. Not only because his defensive skills, but to his wonderful mental speed to make passes very quickly and his great build up ability. Neither Strootman, Van Ginkel nor Fer can offer that.

    I am not watching this ECU21 as a regular U21 tournament playing by “kids”. For me this is a big step on our preparation to next WC. Players like Maher, Strootman, Fer, Clasie, Blind, Van Rhij can be very useful next WC, but players like De Vrij and BMI will be for sure. And that’s why I am little worried. I think De Vrij and BMI have made silly mistakes that can cost us a vital game. We received 3 goals in 2 games. 2 Goals came because the CB made mistakes on the build-up. But I think BMA have been very solid in defence at least.

  8. http://tinyurl.com/orzjqom

    This link will bring you to DFB TV that has a clip with some highlights between Germany U19 and Netherlands U19. They say they dominated and deserved more from the game (I think though my German is rusty), however at the end of the clip I see some Dutch skill quickly pasted. Maybe there is some German bias there.

    However I did not like Rekik in one of these highlights. Is also coming back from a bad loan spell where he failed to get into the starting 11 after a while. Hope that the final tournament is broadcasted on Eurosport. Is already in 10 days from now!


  9. Can I ask why are people so critical of luuk de jong? I know it’s not like he has been a clinical finisher that we are used to, but he is always challenging for headers and has held up the ball well, he isnt a striker like we are used to in the rvp or rvn mould but he is so useful. We only have hoesen as an alternative who is a fringe player for Ajax, whereas luuk has proven he is able to score goals and some more albeit in the eredivisie.

    Similarly, I think our set up does offer us a plan x which is that if we are being battered off the park for football which we at times were against Germany. Our plan x? Well just try and defend a corner whipped in by Maher /clasie when faced with Bmi , ldj, van ginkel, Leroy fer and de vrij. It’s not that easy when the defenders are a bit lightweight at this level.

    I’ll admit I am one of the first people to be a little afraid at where this tactic of playing the same time every game, but for all the players they are all giving it some serious effort and aren’t playing with huge egos. As a footballer I would imagine playing with van ginkel would be the best thing he has such a high work rate it would lift those around him when they see him playing like kuyt with feet.

    Tactically our team is a bit dodgy , but in terms of quality and effort I think we are the best at the u21 so I won’t ve worrying if a cor pot cock up costs us the title deserved

    1. “has held up the ball well”

      I think this is a point people might not agree on. Against Russia his first touches where off and when he had the ball, he often played it to a guy with the wrong shirt. One time he simply kicked it over the side line 5 meters from a fellow player while it was an easy pass. That was a pretty weird sight to witness. Hope to see a bit more from Hoesen as I rate him as a more technical player and I like that. However Hoesen is still in my book as a player not able to finish. Hope he starts writing a new chapter. If he gets that right, then we are getting somewhere.

      1. Ok maybe I overstated his ability to hold the ball up slightly,but I still feel that his aerial presence has been useful for us. Like when Holland play un-dutch tlong balls he is either winning them or unsettling the defence. That is something hoesen will not bring

    2. I agree with DRB – personally I recall several situations where it looked like Luuk had an easy short pass but either mis-played it or just wasn’t on the same page as his teammate, resulting in a turnover of possession.

      That being said, I am not sure we have a better alternative, although Wijnaldum in the middle is an interesting idea to me. But I suppose that some of us expect a bit more from a striker who made 30+ appearances for a pretty decent team in the Bundesliga.

    1. It’s great to see a player developing with that kind of skill. Hope he keeps it up — and works a bit more on his left foot (he favors the right quite a bit, like a right-footed Robben).

    2. In his performances for Vitesse he had not that big of an impact yet, but he is still very young. Let’s give him all the time he needs. He is Dutch Moroccan and most of those players are skilled. I hope we can see the Euro U19 on TV or on a good stream so we can judge him against players from the same age.


  10. Tomorrow will tell the story of how talented is this U21 team. I am concerned about the speed and pressing ability of the Spanish. I agree with Jan’s comments regarding van Ginkel, and was disappointed in the interview which heads this blog as to the arrogance of this young athlete. I think of the truly talented Holland players over the years, and do not remember any of them so assertively boastful regarding their own abilities. He is not as gifted as he believes, and he needs to play a great game tomorrow, along with the rest of the Dutch.

    As members of the U21 team, they are all still growing and learning this sport. What I see so far are well taught athletes as to individual football skills, but not players who completely understand team lines, formations and movement to create goal scoring opportunities. They leave themselves very open at the back when the central defenders spread themselves far apart, which becomes an even greater risk when the fullbacks move so far up-field. They back pass to the goalie far too much, and give up gained ground on a regular basis with little result to show for the efforts. The front line is skilled, but still needs to understand passes from the wing to forwards who should be driving toward the goal. I believe they are gifted athletes who can show themselves tomorrow as a talented team if the play as a team.

    Finally, van Hanegem has become the wise philosopher of Dutch football and, as Jan suggests, he is generally right on his observations and evaluations.

    Hup, Holland, Hup!

  11. At Yankees stadium watching Spain vs Ireland. Ball possession is 90% for Spain in first half. Tiki taka is boring as hell. I can’t believe I’m watching the team that has won 3 major trophies in a row an denied my beloved Holland the WC 3 yrs ago. Sad memories.

    1. Have fun, Balkan. Tiki taka is indeed boring as hell; it’s the red-headed stepchild of Dutch football, and I’ll be glad when it gets old enough to move out of the house.

  12. Do you guys think Fer could join Man U? I remember Moyes wanted him for Everton and after the U-21 EC if Fer keeps doing so well Moyes might want him again.

    1. No IMO. Fer is Everton material, not United material. New club means new quality demands. I am curious to what Moyes will be doing on the transfer market. He will have to follow in the footsteps of Ferguson but also answer to an incoming Mourinho. Arsenal’s financial handcuffs are also coming off and Wenger with money is a different deal as well. If Spurs sell Bale for Ronaldo-esque money, they could become a force as well, bringing in quality injections all over the pitch. Liverpool is actually shaping up nicely as well. They moved away from those dumb footballers they bought earlier as Caroll and now have this Brazilian kid making a name for himself. City is already spending carzy money on new players.

      In this picture of immense pressure a Fer does not fit. Moyes will have to go for better quality or find himself sacked at the end of the season.

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