The Big Ronald Koeman interview

It’s a tradition. Every last week of the year, this blog has an in-depth one on one with the most important man in Dutch football: the NT manager.

This is also my way of saying: Happy New Year and thanks for following the ramblings on here… It’s highly appreciated.

At the bottom of this blog post you’ll see a video with the highlights of this Oranje year.

I’ll follow this post with some nice predictions for the year to come.

Until then, please drink a lot of alcohol on New Years Eve and then enter an amount in the paypal option on this blog to support another year of the Dutchsoccerblog and press “DONATE” so I can also buy food and water for New Years Eve….

For Ronald Koeman, 2018 was the Year of the Resurrection. 2019 is the year we will really have to show what we are worth. Thanks to the AD Sport papers and VI Pro.

The big photo on the table shows a group laughing and cheering Oranje players. Young lads celebrating the second goal vs France, Depay’s Panenka. The goal scorer is the beaming centre of the grouphug, with Frenkie de Jong, Tonny Vilhena, Virgil van Dijk and Daley Blind as his rays. Matthijs de Ligt is seen in the background. Koeman looks at the photo and smiles: ” This is what we aimed for when we started. Have fun, enjoy yourself and radiate happiness to be part of the Oranje team. And all this, is visible in this picture.”

The photo does summarize the year Oranje had. The resurrection, the new swagger. Four wins, four draws and only two defeats in matches against top nations. And the first spot in the difficult Nations League group. “No, I didn’t expect all this,” says Koeman. “If we would have lost 6 games, it would not have been odd. That was a scenario I worked with as well.”

Koeman is at the KNVB Sports Centre, the new home of Oranje. After the abysmal results with Hiddink and Danny Blind, not qualifying for two major tournaments, Koeman decided to bring his squad to the forest in Zeist, as opposed from the holiday seaside town of Noordwijk. “I spent two to three days per week here. They had the KNVB Christmas drinks thing the other day, obviously I felt I had to be present for that as well. As a kid, 13 years old or so, I came here with the North Region rep team and also later with the Oranje squads. This is the hub of Dutch football. The facilities here are good but not as luxurious as what some top clubs offer their players. It’s quite impressive what is happening at Man City, Liverpool, Everton and Barcelona. We can’t offer that quality yet, so I had my doubts… How would the players respond to what can be seen as a step back, but the players actually loved it. There is more bonding going on, they tend to spend more time together playing games, and having fun. In Noordwijk, we had this one floor in the hotel but that place was so big, you could easily decide to be alone and not see other players. When you wanted to hang with another player, you really needed to coordinate that. Here, the rooms are closer, the communal areas are in the middle, you constantly see each other and have those impromptu little circles going on, players talking, playing cards, checking moves out, etc.”

Does this generation need that?

“Well, it’s mainly good for the image of the team. People always say “they make so much money and they don’t really work for it”, but these lads are focusing on football 7 days a week. The programs they run through, the nutritional aspects, the body work, it’s so different compared to my time as a players. In my days, we had Jan Molby at Ajax. His warming up was shooting 20 balls on goal. That’s it. Today, that would be unthinkable. So, this environment is the right one for the way the players today work, live and operate. I can’t see any other sport being more intense than football, as it used to be…”

What are your thoughts re: Memphis, the central figure in this photo?

“It definitely applies to him too. He does everything for his sports. We all had the idea, me as well, that he was a bit complacent. I met him in Liverpool when I wanted to get him in on a loan deal from Man United. And ever since that meeting, my view on him changed. I really feel a click with him. I mean, yes I see the Instragram clips and think, oh well… That cigar wasn’t needed for me, but at the same time, I think…so what? Leave him be. Players these days are constantly in the spotlight. Whenever they go out for a drink or a meal, it’s going viral on the net. So if Memphis enjoys doing those little clips: fine. Let him.”

In the past, you clashed with the young Wesley Sneijder and Rafa van der Vaart. This is now the more experienced coach talking?

“Yes, I guess. I was a young coach back then and I wanted to project my ideas, my values onto these lads. I was too rigorous in that, yes. Coaching is an experience craft. I have learned to see that everyone is different and that younger generations are different.”

The current Oranje players are of the same age as your kids. Doe that help?

“For sure! My kids love following Memphis and the others on social media. They are used to it, and it’s part of today’ sports culture. So yes, I sometimes check in with my kids to ask their opinion about things, and at times they simply tell me what they think and I can see more and more how things work for the younger generations.”

Ronald Koeman is not just the NT coach, he is now also the figure head of Dutch football and spoke at the NL Coach Congress recently, using an example of what happened at Ajax – Bayern Munich… “I used it as an example, but Bayern coach Kovac had two experienced bench players, Hummels and Martinez and he let them warm up in the second half, for at least 20 minutes. He needed something to happen, as Ajax was in front. When he finally wanted to use his third sub, he turned to Renato Sanches who was sitting on the bench. He hadn’t done a warm up. He used him, and Sanches went onto the pitch cold. I watched Hummels and Martinez, who looked at each other with confusion and a wry smile. That sort of thing has an effect. On the coach, on the vibe in the squad, the mentality of these older players, the hierarchy. Lets just say, it wasn’t smart of Kovac to do it like this. These are the little things that can work against you in terms of player support and team spirit.”

Wat did you do to re-establish a new hierarchy with Oranje?

“That happens in a natural way. Memphis doesn’t want to be the designated leader but he leads due to his way of playing. Virgil is a natural leader because of his age and his position on the pitch, his charisma and experience. Gini Wijnaldum, Jasper Cillesen and Kevin Strootman are key players as well. They play at big clubs, they’ve been around and share their experiences. And the technical staff is also about clarity. If things are unclear, we want players to speak out. If things are not clear, players get nervous.”

Was it important too that dominant personalities like Robben, Sneijder and Van Persie are no longer part of Oranje? Wijnaldum mentioned something like “a gap in the squad”?

“I guess so. But for clarity’s sake: I have asked Robben in the early phase of my role here, to come back to Oranje. He is still so good. But yes, with the big lads gone, there is space for the younger players to step into that space and show what they are made of.”

And with the rise of talents like De Ligt and Frenkie de Jong, the jigsaw puzzle suddenly seemed complete?

“Ha, I read somewhere that this coach has a golden dick, hahaha. But yes, a coach is only as good as his material and these two are really good. I actually spoke to Pep Guardiola about both, some while back. He is completely smitten with midfielders like Frenkie and he wanted to know everything about him. Frenkie has really made a contribution to Oranje. He is biggest quality, is that he can postpone his decision on the ball, just another couple of seconds so he can give that pass that another player wouldn’t be able to give. And everyone goes: damn! That was amazing.”

About the past couple of years… we thought our football was in crisis. Was that a knee-jerk response? Were we really that bad?

“Well, something had to happen for sure. We need to do more to get to the top. In Holland, we always thought that with our talent, we just need to play some good football and then we’ll get there. But the nations in Europe and beyond have learned as well, and developed. Countries like Iceland, Wales, Uruguay, Japan, Australia are no longer walk-over nations in football. It’s the same at club level. Look at Ajax in the past 10 years in qualifications of the CL tournament! It has become harder on all levels to get to the top. Belgium was a nice example for us. They can play re-action football like they used to do, and use the turnaround moments, but they can also dominate and play the “Dutch way” for lack of a better term. They are flexible within their format. I like that. And like Belgium, we have the players to do both, as well. And in 2019, we will face Germany again, for the Euro qualifications. I’m already thinking about how to approach those games.”

Oranje went from underdog to the favorite again. 2019 is a year with heavy expectations.

“I do wonder, if we can extrapolate the way we played this year, to next year. We will start vs Belarus and can we play like we did this year, against a ultra defensive team? Can Memphis be as important? Or, do we need to use Luuk de Jong as central striker and make some changes? We never had to do this as we only played strong, domineering teams but I do realise that in 2019, it really starts. I wouldn’t have minded another friendly before we start for the Euro qualifications against an opponent like Northern Ireland.”

Some players dropped in the hierarchy. Kevin Strootman seemed to have lost his starting spot. How do you deal with that?

“Well, Kevin will be part of the squad as long as I see that he wants to be. He’s important for the group, he’s in the players council. I will always check the dynamics of the players on the bench. Do they celebrate goals of the team or do the join in after a won game? That sort of conduct is taken into account.”

You once mentioned how Rinus Michels decided to take players like Hendrie Kruzen of FC Den Bosch and Wilbert Suvrijn of Roda to the Euro1988, as they were players happy with a bench role and still giving 100% at training. Does that influence your way of thinking?

“Absolutely. You have to take personalities into account. And particularly at a big tournament. You are so close for weeks. Look at Belgium again: Nainggolan wasn’t part of their squad. Judging from a distance, I suppose it has to do with hoe he deals with not starting a game. In our case, the Euros are still a bit away. A lot can change. Transfers, injuries, development of players. Take Promes, he started as a wing back at Sevilla! That could be an interesting development for us.”

Did you also ignore players in your selections to give them a sign?

“Yes, take Steven Berghuis of Feyenoord. He is a great player. With the ball. Without the ball, he needs to do more. I saw him recently play against PSV, and he was fantastic. That is what I want to see week in week out. He knows this.”

Now you’re back in Holland, after a number of years in England… Is there anything you like from what you see here, in our competition?

“Holland will always bring talent early. Recently, Orkun Kokcu at Feyenoord. 17 years old. In England I have Ward-Prowce, who was a bit older but our board said: he can’t play more than 10 games per year. In England, they see young players as a risk. We don’t. And I’m certain that in 10 years time, we’ll have the next De Ligt or Frenkie de Jong, chomping at the bits.”

You worked at the top 3 in Holland. Which club do you think is the hardest one to manage?

“I have to say Ajax. I think particularly today, with that trophy drought. Ajax invested heavily into more expensive players as well and sacrificed Keizer and Bergkamp. The pressure is on there. And Ajax always has several streams of important people behind the scenes, trying to pull strings. It’s always a difficult club. They also want to see attractive football. When De Boer won his fourth title in a row, he was criticized for the boring play. That would never happen at PSV. PSV is different. Similar top sport climate, but more a gentleman’s club. Whereas Feyenoord is hard because of the lack of resources and the enormous expectations and hunger of the Legion but the love and support of the Feyenoord fans is undying. So I have to say Ajax.”

It’s good for Dutch football to see Tadic and Blind back in the eredivisie, right?

“Absolutely. I worked with Tadic at Southampton and I saw what he did for his fitness, his rhythm. He is so fit and strong and has a great mentality. It’s so good for the youngsters to have him, for at Feyenoord to see Van Persie and before him Kuyt. The young players will learn a lot from that.”

You mentioned something you picked up from the Dutch women’s team…?

“Yes! I wasn’t even NT manager when it happened. I was invited to give them their award some while back, best sports team of the year. I said I loved to see them, and that their appeal was so broad because they clearly had fun. They played with a big smile on their face. And they are accessible and down to Earth. I think supporters like that. And when I compare that with the internationals I had at Southampton and Everton… They’d return from their Oranje stint and I didn’t see any enthusiasm.”

You turned it around quickly.

“But that isn’t my work. It starts with the players. And they are being developed and coached daily by the club coaches. By Gio, Mark van Bommel, Erik ten Hag, etc. I also realised that Danny Blind and Guus Hiddink had a lot of bad luck. And I don’t mean that Bas Dost goal vs Sweden, alone. Also all that drama at the KNVB, with the technical director, the decisions made by the board, assistant coaches leaving, there was no consistency, no positive vibe and when it storms at the top, when you’re on the ground you will feel the rain and get wet. The whole vibe around Oranje was negative.”

Did it all turn around? Or do we still need to make structural changes?

“The times we live in are different. This applies to society, but also to football. In the past Robben or Rep or whoever was our winger, could take 10 mins rest per match. Stay up and wait for that stray ball. Today, wingers are the first defenders. The physical demands are so much higher now. I am not sure if we have incorporated that into our development and you could even say, that culturally, we don’t like doing this. We seem to be a complacent and lacklustre, in general. Listen to all the players that make a move to a bigger competition. All of them, no exception, will tell you: wow, they work so hard, the training is so intense, we don’t see a single ball in the pre-season, it’s just running and weights…. That is such a clear signal to me.”

These days, the laptop coach is making his way. Using stats and simulations… do you work with this?

“Yes, you will always find ways to incorporate it, but it’s not leading for me. The interpretation is key. We had a lot of this at Everton. We played Chelsea and I took the stats and saw that Diego Costa made significantly more runs in behind than Lukaku. And we constantly had to go with him. So I used this in my prep with Lukaku: look mate, this is Costa, and this is you!”

“But the essence of coaching, is management of people. We have 20+ top players. All alpha males and they all need to go into the same direction. They all have their own ideas, they all have invented it and they know everything better. And to lead that, you can only do that by creating a bond with them, a mutual understanding.”

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  1. The team still needs one more striker , a good all rounded midfielder and a left back.imo since there aint much option upfront Koeman should make Zivkovic understudy of Depay if not start them together with Depay.the thing with zivkovic is he has the feet for goals and he is scoring goals in belgium.its just that he is playing in a low profile team makes him slip under the radar.

    Koeman should slowly inject him into the team via friendlies.the guy has few issues but that can easily be overcome with the right people around him and under the right guidence and who better is there than koeman. Im sure if this guy plays with full confidence he can form a deadly combo upfront with hasnt have to be when Depay is unavalible then they start back paddling. The time is just right with euro qualifers also on the horizon and who knows a shot at NT could also open doors for him to potential other clubs in more competitive league. Again you have to look at the individual capabilities of a player and not necessarily where they play. Look at Benjamin pavard.he was a low profile player at Stuttgart but then he arrived on the biggest stage and claimed his stake.

    As far as midfield is concerned frenkie has really sewed the midfield but still they need a good backup for him should he be unavalible. It will be intresting to see what sort of condition Van Ginkel returns in and whether koeman will give him the nod or no.

  2. My 2019 wish list:

    1. Frenkie and de Ligt to sign for top clubs in the summer. Preferably both for Barcelona. van de Beek should move, but maybe not this summer.

    2. Jasper Cillesen to move to a top club in the summer.

    3. Tahith Chong to break into the Man Utd first team.

    4. Kluivert to become a regular starter for Roma.

    5. van Dijk to win the Ballon D’or.

      1. I did leave one out. I myself am a die-hard Ajax fan, but I find myself recently cheering just for Dutch success in Europe, whether it’s Ajax, PSV or Feyenoord.

        So my last wish is that Ajax is successful in 2019, so we can get more permanent spots back in Europe! I want to get back to 2 guaranteed CL spots.

  3. I don’t think Zivkovic is our striker.

    I think it is highly likely that Danjuma or Dilrosun will take that role until Redan (Chelsea) is ready to step up.

    We will always need a Weghorst/De Jong style striker as well by the way.

    As for Frenkie de Jong’s stand-in, I rate Davy Propper way higher than Van Ginkel.

    Carel Eiting (Ajax) will be a player to watch by the way

    1. Personally I think that we’ll use Depay through the middle, and Kluivert on the left until Redan is developed. I’m hoping Chong can make a dent in the Utd XI in 2019, so he can be on the radar for Euro 2020 on the right.

  4. Looking at 2020, the players that possibly have better chances to make the squad includes.

    firstly clavin stengs, this could be a big year for him and as AZ forever said he has made a good recovery and he has started from where he left off. If not for injury he pretty much would have in the same boat as kluivert, Dilrosun, Bergwijn and danjuma now.he is left footer operating on the right and all players who have that ability are talented players. Robben straight away comes to mind.he could bring something different to table and this where he would easily edge out other wingers. I think he had everyone talking before his injury and the scouts will be keeping a eye on him. Im not very sure whats happening at AZ but looks like they urgently need reinforcements.players like Til, koopmeiners, ouwejan all jumped on the scene with high expectation but they seem to have hit the cold front.AZ Forever could throw more light on this.

    coming back to stengs I think it wont take him long to get the callup. The u21s should be the stepping stone for him for now until the season ends.

    Then comes Rick karsdorp. Also back from injury and pretty much looks to be out of the books at Roma. Negiotation are going on between feyenoord and Roma to send him back on loan so that he can have some decent playing time.even though the RB spot is congested in NT but he could provide more competition if any. By all means he is a better player than Davide santon but Di Francesco relations with him has hit stumbling blocks.I just hope Roma fires him.

    Zivkovic, I have already said about him, though Jan you views are intresting on him.he is winger/ striker type player.Groeneveld is more a winger. If you look at the u21s that bombed out of the euros,for most of the games he (zivkovic) was used spraingly until lammers looked ineffective with the team losing.the last two games of qualifer when they had bombed out the coach decides to start him.turned out to be more effective and better than lammers. like I said he has a feet for goal but is slightly off grid.

    Janseen possibly also if he can find a new club and get back in form.

    Redan,Chong, van drongelen and others will have to wait till 2022 but looking at the talents that are coming up and if all goes well, it will be on hell of a team.

    I would wanna also say it once again, chongs time will come but not any time soon. He may get some cameo roles like he got during the preseason but with the current wingers in man united first team he might just be in pecking order. If you look at Rasford and Lingard, they jumped on the scene when Depay was struggling and mis firing van persie under van gaal.they made immediate impact and their trajectory lifted off from there. It will hard for chong to fad off competition from these guys.

  5. The jury is still out on Zivkovic and he still has plenty of time to develop, but I am personally not sold on him. After his horrible injury, he has lost his explosiveness considerably. Which is sad, as he’s the kind of attacker who likes to exploit defender’s weakness through a burst of acceleration. And he was/is never a prolific scorer, even at club level (a quick lookup, this season he has only bagged 3 goals in the league). Hard to imagine what he can contribute to Dutch NT.

    As far as attack concerns, I think Koeman has done an admirable job bringing fresh talents (Bergwijn, Danjuma Kluivert, and Dilrosun) AND re-energizing the veterans (Memphis, Babel, Promes, Luuk De Jong, Berghuis).

    The Year 2019 will be about who is going to leap and grab the opportunity to shine. Aside from Memphis, Bergwijn is a frontfrunner and “safe” option in my eye. If I were a betting man, I would wager on Dilrosun to make plenty of noise. He plays with chips in his shoulders after dumped by Man City.

    If there’s a “story to follow” for 2019 (again, as far as attack concerns), it has to be around Quincy Promes. He hasn’t settled too well in Sevilla, and has started losing confidence (if not already). It will be interesting if he can turn this around in the next couple months, otherwise he may end up at a new club – which means that he will have to start all over again adjusting, etc. Not a good situation with Euro ’20 qualifier looming.

    Good to monitor is Stengs. He is getting stronger, I really like him. But he has quite a bit to go, and he needs to first break through the Dutch U21.

    Speaking about Dutch U21, in 2019, the one that I look forward the most is the Attacking Midfielder crop (Sneijder/Vaart of the future). Set to compete are the likes of Gravenberch, Kokcu, Kadioglu, Reis and Mo Ihattaren. This will be a fascinating race!

    1. ” feet for goal” he has scored every where he has played.Groningen, Ajax, Jong Ajax,Willem 11,Utrecht.for a low profile team like KV oostende he has scored 15 goals in 56 matches which also includes off the bench appearance as part of rotation upfront with fashion sakala.not flashy but for the minutes he has played I think thats quiet ok if you wanna compare it to that of bergwijn who has 20 goals for PSV in 103 matches.

      All in all what im saying he is sombody who needs to be worked not saying he should be have look at how it turned out for groeneveld.he played few games for the u21s , moved to club brugge, scored some well taken goals (4) and got the call up.the only difference between him and zivkovic is club brugge is a better club than KV Oostende which again shifts the limelight away from him.I think a good club will better his chances for getting a NT call up if this is the case.

      I will also agree with Jan,the need to have De Jong and weghorst type strikers. They can be impactful in later stages of the game. (Ariel threat) but this may also depend on the type of defenders you are facing.

      The wing department would be true is about leap and grab the opportunity but the trio of Groeneveld, Depay and Babel would be front three on any day if all fit.

  6. Hey guys,

    As I said before, Calvin has been on his way to recover. However, taking into account the seriousness of the injury, I would say he needs at least one full year to restore his confidence in the field. Physically he is there but mentally he is not. You could see that from the way how he plays now. We need to pray that he will be not injured again as Myron Boadu. I believe by the time Calvin recovers mentally it will be late for him to be in U21. I think if he plays at his full potential he is better than any winger we have in Oranje now.

    With respect to AZ, their biggest problem is central defense, not Til, Koopmeiners, or Ouwejan. I agree, they were slightly out of shape but that would not impact badly the performance. Max Hujberts did not do very good job during summer transfers. He bought very cheap young defenders and hoped for a speedier recovery of Wujtens. Nothing has materialized so far. At the end AZ needed to settle with the “grandpa” Vlaar and Koopmeiners who is not a central defender by definition. Another problem is central attacker. Myron started season very well. He scored 3 goals in his first 5 games. After he got injured, things have gone even worse in Alkmaar.

    I beleive van den Brom has found a temporary solution for AZ as they played very well against PSV (the last game), but the team needs solid central defenders.

    Also, I would like to stress that Adam Maher is progressing very well too. Overall, I am very optimistic that AZ will do better in the second half of the championship. Although it might be a stretch but I hope AZ will be able to kick Feyenoord’s ass and get 3rd place again.

    Happy New Year.

      1. There is a rumor that AZ is one of the five destinations where Janssen might be loaned. However, realistically it is impossible because Janssen will be too expensive even to loan. Max Hujberts is very greedy man.

        1. Jus on kickng feyenoord part, Utrecht is also doing good under Dick Adovcaat.they are fourth behind Feyenoord and look like they could challenge feyenoord for that third spot.I like how DA has slowly injected Nick Venema into the first team as he looks to reinforce the attack in the team. He scored vs Ajax and looks like has his trajectory lifted in the first team.

          For Maher, it was all about playing again, getting more minutes under his belt and confidence level will return.I also hope he gets back to his very best.

        2. No Janssen ever again please

          There is a reason he was voted flop of the year of the English premier league

          And i did watched him a lot he did a lot of games to prove himself but he failed to score anything . As a striker you need to score goals like Harry Kane. When Kane was injured he has his chances but he disappointed everyone

          Yes I would rather put my hopes on stengs

          As for now all my hope is on danjuma, dilrosun and kluivert plus redan . These four will be our future plus delay and Chong of course

          chong’s chances are coming soon

          By the way , who do guys think are better? Danjuma or dilrosun or the same level?

          They are still injured ??

          1. Danjuma is alock. Its a pity he got injured. Hope he will be back in time for europa. Club brugge too somewhat have a low vibe in his absence.

            Dilrosun and kluivert will have to settle for u21s. Babel,Promes will overshadow them with more experience and fire power.

          2. Buddy,
            Janssen is not a flop. He simply was not ready for PL and Harry K. was already there. Things like that happen all the time. Remember Memphis in MU? Vins should have stayed in AZ for a year or so and then move. If you remember he scored in Eredivisie 28 goals in one season and also 5-6 goals in Oranje when everybody else struggled to do so. He has some deficiencies as everybody does but he is a talented boy and if he moves back to Eredivisie, namely AZ, he will shine again.

  7. I must say one player that is in form right now has to be Anwar El Ghazi. you see this is what I always keep emphasizing with more game time, builds consistency and which helps improve confidence.there was time when he looked doomed at Aston Villa, but under the new coach as he plays more and more he is getting sharper and not sure if he will earn a call up but if continues with the same performance through out the season,he could make a strong case for Lille to call him back especially with Nicolas Pepe being on the radar for many big clubs.lille are currently second behind PSG in ligue 1.

      1. I leave it to you to find it out.I sharing what I have seen and the current form he is in now. You were on the same beat when Depay was days you go around singing his love songs.

          1. when the boy was on his high everybody was screaming his name, now he became a flop. Let’s be more patient and not quick with the decision.

          2. Janssen is playing short of time like Bazoer…both can comeback at depends on regular playing time…Especially Bazoer who has got evrything to be a top player capable to take batten from would be loss of us if he doesnt sort out mental issue…Another player i like the most is Jetro boy williams…hope he also comes back..

        1. Depay has attitude issue…which he sorted out.initially i thought he would end up like Drenthe…but this case its intelligence?.ATM Elghazi and game intelligence are on opposite spectrum it seems..

  8. Nathan Ake scored again last night

    That’s two goals in two games and one of them was against Man Utd

    I keep saying that he is underrated and he should go to a bigger club playing champions league

    A pity that he can’t get into the starting XI for Oranje but he would definitely become of of our strong sub and backup

    1. Yeah but its the goals that bournemouth is conceeding is not giving a good picture.they conceeded 12 goals in the last three games which is ridiculous to be honest.well you could blame on the whole team but in most goals he has been pretty much in the picture.

      There is one thing I have noticed about him when he plays at bournemouth compared to NT is that in NT he can soley concentrate on the pisition he is playing as the coverage from another players are quiet steady.At Bournemouth you can find him covering for another players and in that process he leaves his position unmarked. If you look at Rashfords goal, even though he got roasted he was suppose to be playing in the middle of three man backline. 3-5-2 but yet was stretched and taken out by Rasford and again the coverage from his retriving players was as bad as any.

    2. Nathan is especially good at headers and scoring goals…He is a scorer like Vandijk…i feel Deligt also would score if you give little freedom…happy that we have 3 scoring defenders..

  9. One more ……don’t forget Stefan de De vrij
    and I do feel sorry for him

    and that’s why I’m not interested in any other upcomin central defenders anymore as we got two solid pair for another 8 years

        1. Yes that’s what I’m talking about

          He Is just too good to play for such an average team

          He is the best player for Bournemouth and he keeps improving . The thing I like about Him he score goals whenever he has that chance

          He score more goals than some of our strikers even

    1. “United’s exciting academy product Tahith Chong came on for his senior debut on the hour but Solskjaer and Sanchez suffered a setback ahead of next week’s trip to face Tottenham after the forward limped off four minutes later.” –espn

        1. Yes it’s not perfect but at least not bad and most important he got the Man Utd fans behind him

          He wouldn’t get this from Mourinho

          Really hope he will got more playing minutes and score one or two goals

          Otherwise , I would rather have Man Utd loan him out to another premier league time

          At his age he needs to play every week. I would rather see him play that sitting on the bench

          Look like dilrosun he made a good Choice by leaving Man City.

  10. What u guys think of Ki Jana Hoever? Do u think he be called up into senior NT by end this year? Seems Kloop is highly impressed with his development. I saw clips of his performance and have to say he looked good…technique, tackles and passing.

    1. Hmm….. not much interested to be honest

      How many right backs do we currently have Already ?

      We need replacement and a another sub for Frenkie de Jong, and of our midfield positions

      Strikers world clAss wingers etc is what we need

      1. Good top quality RBs we have are only 1 thats

        Denzel Dumfries

        Karsdorp(Top quality but lacks match rythem)
        Fosu mensah(Rock solid in defense but not that great in attack)

        1. Yep I’m with you here

          Dumfries nailed it and he will be our first Choice now . The second Choice let them fight it out

          Fosuh mensah the unlucky he doesn’t even know where is going to play now. Again all damn Mourinhos fault

    2. Hoever is maybe going to get an FA Cup start in a season where Liverpool is fighting for the treble and missing a few defenders. He’s still 16, he’s no where close to International Level. I think he’s one of the best 16 year olds in the world, but he’ll be lucky to play for Netherlands U21 by the end of this year.

  11. Nick Venema scores a hat trick after coming off the bench against Stuttgart today. I know it’s just a friendly but this kid’s stock has been rising very quickly. One of the top strikers in the Eerste Divisie, is now scoring in the Eredivisie, and I doubt Utrecht will be able to hold onto him in the summer.

  12. A lot of teams have been using the FA Cup to give their reserve players or players who havent had much playing time to clock minutes. Guardiola also gave Philippe sandler his debut for city after he came on for De Bryne in the midfield.Riedewald also started for crystal Palace in the midfield.

    1. Its good that Sandler is with Pep,PEP is better player developer as well..If Sandler is intelligent then Guardiyola is the man..lets see how it goes..more likely pepe will convert him as DM like he did with Philip lahm at bayern.

  13. Yes Pep although I really don’t like his personality , no doubt he is someone that gives youngsters chances ( unlike Jose )

    However , isn’t it a bit of waste that sandler is still not getting any first team chances ?

    Look at Leroy sane …..
    . sandler at his age should be playing week in week out

    1. Benching fernandinho wont be a walk over for Sandler. There is a reason why fernandinho is one of the best MFs in epl.the good part is that sandler tipped the scale positively and the only thing he can do is to build it on from here onwards when given the nod. If he can replicate this form in epl, Guardiola could have found fernandinho,long term replacement which he is on a man hunt.the other aspect that could also be vital for Pep and city is the fact that he can also play at CB. He could also be a understudy for Company and Otamendi who are coming of age.

    2. Pep is so meticulous,he gives chances to younger ones if they good ,Just opposite to Jose who spoils every teenager..The Glory Hunter who splashed money for avergae lukakku and almost spoiling Martial,thrown out Depay(though it helped Depay)..Putting Rashford in to darkness…Now they have changed with Martial-Rashford-Lindgraad and they are a force with Pogba and matic..i hope he never gets manger spot again..

      1. While it is exciting to think about another talent developing, Hoever is what,16, and just played his first match in the Senior team as a sub? Any discussion of him v. Dumfries v. Karsdorp is very premature.

  14. Urgh…… too many talent at the back now

    Feel sorry for Wesley Hoedt, van aanholt , Bruma janmaat , fosuh etc

    Wish we got more Talent in the midfields and upfront

    1. Hoedt was always average,Annholt is speedster who scores goals..Janmaat was never reliable as a RB though he was good at bombing forward exactly like Annholt with lesser pace.
      i think still Bruma dn fosu can fight back they have wat it takes to compete with Virgil-Deligt-Devrij-Ake..
      if annholt has concentration he would do better than Blind at LB…so there still rooms for Bruma,Annholt and Fosu..

  15. It looked like KJH was doing a alot of catching up and defintely need more game time to really shift to another level.again a good rendition for him on his debut.defintely showed he is a future prospect like chong at United and I dont think we should be jumping the guns now.
    Lets this guys become regular at their respective team and maybe then it would be in the best intrest to start accessing them for NT.

    Also looking at NT I think De ligt might go a long way, 4 world cups at most from now which means the rest will have to settle for second best especially the RcBs. Van Drongelen is in the same boat as De Ligt but he is taking the same route as what Van Dijk took.the moment he steps in bundasliga, his trajectory will lift of in NT.he has already broken into hamburg starting 11 and is also a regular for the u21s.the only thing that is left for him is jump onto the big stage and if they get promoted at the end of this season, that will be it.

    1. Vandijk was starter at celtic and he never played for celtic u21..Vandijk took the storm from start,though people realised it late..
      I am not following is he ??

  16. Ki-Jana,Gravenberg, Chong, Malen, Boadu, Redan, Piere, Castilo, Kluivert, Ligt, Venema, Kokcu, Malaca

    Seems good future, it’s better if Bazoer, Raidewal, Fosu, Bacuna, Avert, Diks not floppy

      1. Another hands, we can observe some guys around 23-26 yrs old who have potential to utilize such as Brenet, Willems, Kongolo, Ake, Rekik, Vilhena, Weghorst, Janssen, Ghazi, Juste, Haps, Vlap,Klassen, Kasdorp, Klukcassen, Locadia, Janmaat, Hoedt, Etc

        So many options 😆

          1. Klassen ?!?! Wtf why do I still see his name ??!!

            No sorry Klassen has enough chance to prove himself , and he was not and will never be Oranje material . Never

            We’re xurrently taking about his 3X upgrade Van de Beek and even he is still a doubt , given the fact we keep having new potentials expecting to be coming out In the next Coming two to four years

            No Klaasen and no Strootman pls

            Honestly even Wijnaldum is not my ideal but we have no other options right now

            By the way , 4 years later we will have xavi Simmons joining , I hope . Some say he will choose Spain to play I hope that’s not true

            This boy seems a real star to be born

  17. St juste a strange case. he could well solve the midfield issue if he starts playing there but it doesnt look like he will get much chances at Feyenoord and if karsdorp comes back into the frame, he will go down in pecking order. zenit and fiorentina both have

    1. both are interested in him but are eyeing him for CB. i said this before and im saying this again Vilneas time is up at feyenoord. he needs to go abroad to shift to the next level. he is c**k blocking that midfield. very soon he will find himself playing second fiddle to Orkun Kökçu.

    2. St Juste has everything to suceed at DM..He should look to cement that Spot as his peramanent..The Guy is so versatile and talented that he has been thrown all places on pitch by greedy coaches..its the time for him to stick on WITH A PLAN..or else we will loose him for ever.

  18. It’s so funny. van Dijk is proving that he might be one of the best player’s in the world right now, but people are already designing starting 11’s without him.

    A talent like van Dijk comes along once in a lifetime, the last time Holland had this calibre of a defender? Maybe never.

    I want to see van Dijk still in Holland’s line-up in 2026, maybe longer.

    1. The big question is whether his body will be able to hold up by then. He will be 35 by then and others will be coming up to their prime. Eventually given his built you expect him to slow down and it it will just come down who is in better shape and form. Look at Vincent Company (32), WHEN around the same age as van dijk he was also a beast but injuries has taken huge toll on his body and nowdays he is on and off the pitch frequently.also look at Chielleni who still playing at 34 for both club and country. The Italians have paid the price for being persistent with aging centre backs and now there is huge gap between them and some of their upcoming centre backs.I think after the world cup 2022, other CBs should given the opportunity to be understudy of van dijk. As I see it he might go on to be be playing around 2026 but not at the highest level.

    2. @Derek Age is factor,there is biological Decay….Speed is must for top level games…i still remmber so called England backs got exposed vs Young german team in WC2010…..i hope we win the WC with Virgil as captain at Qatar22..or At least Euro with Virgil…i ams sure with Koeman and with arrival new talents upfront it doale…even now we can win it like Greece did in 2004,Portugal in 2016 and Italy in 2006..

          1. 35 is not all fine…your legs cannt catch the younger ones,then blaming virgil is not nice …i think maximum is 32…i would say its 31 is the last point..

  19. @Wilson, nice to see those guys all get time; that is what events like the Florida Cup are for. How did they play? Did any of them stand out? Did Eiting play—I have high hopes for him.

    1. I think Eiting played very well. I like the guy a lot too. Also Gravenberch is a massive in the making. I hope he develops to be world class. De Wit showed he’s a hardworking individual. Overall this was a training match and the Brazilians are nowhere near Ajax level. Even the Jong Ajax were better than Flamengo.

        1. I see a strong resemblance of Hendrix in Eiting.not sure if he is robust enough or has the ability to break play down from the middle.both are offensively good and I think what NT needs is a robust and daredevil kind of a midfielder.though qualities is evident in one player, st juste but unfortunately he is stray at the moment.

          agree gravenberch could in line with De ligt and De de Jong in making. at 16 and playing for jong Orange itself shows the massive potential he has.

  20. Ake going thru a rough patch, with Bournemouth conceding many goals in recent matches..Feel Ake a very “reactive” defender, needing to lunge into last ditch tackles. Seldom see him making key interceptions to avert dangerous situations.
    What u guys think?

    1. I would like take a look at him in a better team compared to Bournemouth.even though Bournemouth has been conceding a lot goals but still he has being voted one of their most consistent players. also his outings for NT has being far more better than at Bournemouth which I suspect has to do with the overall players and formations that they are playing.

  21. Nathan Ake issue is simple,he plays with lesser players.He is the best out there.So when he shows weakness there is no one to cover him….So it will be over When He paired with Deligt-Devrij or Vigil kind of defenders…also he should consider playing DM on the spot of Nijel Dejong,Casmiro,Fernadhino etc..

  22. All of sudden Arnaut Danjuma has attracted all these big clubs such as AC Milan , Liverpool , Spurs and Everton

    I doubt it will happen but of course I would really hope one of these clubs would sign them . Even Everton would be a huge step up for him

    Just curious , he is still injured and what’s so special about him that all these clubs are interested in him???

    1. Yan…The Lad Arnaut has suffered injuries earlier in his career as well,thats why he had to move from Big 3..Arnaut is an EFFECTIVE DRIBBLER,Cuts in with ease,level headed guy,humble,team player and a humble servant of dutch NT..Just opposite to pricks like Afellay and Elgahzi..Look as his goal from Memphis pass…that says about his cool finish..Just pray that he recovers well…He is very good player he can be world beater if gets more confidence..Koeman did a great thing to attach him with dutch Nt..Thnaks to koeman as well..

    2. like I all ways say the international stage becomes a good marketing arena for players and this is why more potential players should be given a nod in NT. This is exactly what has happened with Danjuma Groeneveld. he went two steps back to move one step forward after being rejected by PSV. any body watching him playing for NEC would have known he was too good to be playing in eerste divisie. once he started striding that was it. jong orange and NT came knocking on his door.there were and will be players that will not make it to the first teams of the top three Ajax, Feyenoord, PSV and they will have to look else where to kick start their career.probably at bottom feeder clubs in eredivisie or even eerste divisie like Groeneveld.

    3. January 15, 2019 at 5:08 pm
      Yan…The Lad Arnaut has suffered injuries earlier in his career as well,thats why he had to move from Big 3..Arnaut is an EFFECTIVE DRIBBLER,Cuts in with ease,level headed guy,humble,team player and a humble servant of dutch NT..Just opposite to pri@##$4ks like Afellay and Elgahzi..Look as his goal from Memphis pass…that says about his cool finish..Just pray that he recovers well…He is very good player he can be world beater if gets more confidence..Koeman did a great thing to attach him with dutch Nt..Thnaks to koeman as well..

      1. Agree

        Credit to Koeman that he has selected Danjuma

        From right now up until the next euros in two years time , I think Danjuma when fit will grab one of the left or right wingers position ( should he be fit )

        I think it will be among Bergwijn , Babel , kluivert (maybe, if he keeps improving like what he is right now ) , dilrosun , stengs ?

        Then chong , redan , and that kid from Bayern ( Joshua zirkzee ??! Will be monitored for World Cup

        1. And then of course Depay will become our lethal super striker . Hope we can find another one to shift his responsibilities.

          Koeman must think of a plan b assuming he got injury or stuff

  23. Poor Janssen !

    Although I always said that I have given up on him, this would be the best final chance for him to prove himself

    And also the right time and best opportunity since Kane is injured and son is going back for the Asian cup

    Something must have been happened between the coach and himself ? It’s very cruel and stubborn of the coach not giving Vincent Janssen a chance

  24. Both karsdorp and kliuvert had a good outings for Roma in the Coppa Italia vs Entella.both played full 90 minutes, kluivert had 2 assists and karsdorp did superbly in the build ups. I hope Di Francesco would have realized what karsdorp can bring to the team if given the nod.

    1. Yes

      Maybe we were wrong about kluivert’s move
      In the beginning

      Sometimes when you add lucky ( like kluivert ) and got a patient coach that likes you , the. He will get the chances

      Kluivert seems to
      Get more and more playing time and despite not hitting the scoreline but I’m sure two assists has proven his worth

      If he is going to score a couple more goals then this year would be enough to mark success given his young age and difficulty as a first year playing in serie A for a big club

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