It is starting to itch, right? A European Cup tournament which might take the bitterness away from last year’s debacle in Poland/Ukraine!
I am working to get us a predictor game going on the site, but time is short and IT challenges huge, hahaha.
So while LVG takes his group on a fun tour to Asia to meet Carlos and Mourinho is chasing Sneijder for Chelsea, we will focus on the Young Oranje troop.
In the meantime, the AD newspaper asked Oracle Willem van Hanegem to give his opinion.
“The EC squad oozes talent. That is correct. But talent is not enough. If we believe we will win this because we have so many exciting players, we will have lost it early on. Spain, Germany, Italy, they talent too, trust me. This squad needs to be able to play like a team. To work like a team and to sacrifice. I hated being benched, but players like Van Ginkel, Fer and De Jong might not play. And they should be able to handle that, despite their egos. The KNVB takes this very seriously. I read they sent 23 people in the staff!! That is as much as we have players? I get a little nervous when I read that. All that quasi interesting stuff, like secret practices and all that. Rubbish. But coach Pot has one ace up his sleeve. Van Gaal is scrutinising what will happen and once established players stop acting in the interest of the team, Van Gaal will scratch those names from his list. That is a strong tool for Pot to use in keeping the egos in check. They should all realise that this EC is a unique opportunity for them all.”
“I believe we have very talented goalies. We have a couple at senior level and with Jeroen Zoet we have another good goalie for the future. He has quality, he has experience and PSV will most likely make him first goalie next season. Which I don’t understand, because despite his qualities, I think Tyton is simply better, but what do I know? Bizot (Groningen) and Marsman (Go Ahead Eagles) have shown to be very decent talents, but how will they act under pressure. Go Ahead Eagles – Eindhoven is not the same as Young Holland – Young Spain in the finals of an EC….”
“Van Rhijn and Blind will be the starters without a doubt. Blind is A international so it’s logical I guess, for Pot to pick him. I would pick Van Aanholt, to be honest. I like Blind, he is a great player, but Van Aanholt for me is more complete as a full back. Very aggressive, very fast and is very capable of going the distances all the time. I am not a big Van Rhijn fan. He is good offensively, but vulnerable defensively. Most goals Ajax conceded were on his side, whenever he picked the wrong moment to go forward. Leerdam is as good as Van Rhijn if not better. Although Leerdam is mentally a bit weak. Always whining. As for the central defenders, I am a bit concerned that Gouweleeuw and Bruma are not part of the squad. Goueweleeuw can play midfield too, has a very strong passing game… Bruma, I don’t get why he isn’t part of it. He missed a couple of games. So what? He is so talented… I saw him against Jong Norway and I was deeply impressed. He is strong, tall, good header, fast… he has something. I think PSV did a wonderful deal to get him. Definitely a top investment.”
“I like the midfielders Pot selected. The one worry I have is the continiously complimenting of Strootman. Van Gaal does it, now Pot does it. A born leader, etc etc. But I say: be careful. I too believe he has a lot of future, but I watched him in the recent weeks and I was shocked. As if he didn’t know how to play anymore. Positionally, he was doing everything wrong. He left his man go, he took the wrong decisions…. In the business end of the competition, that is where I wanted to see him! But Clasie had a dip too. I think it has to do with stuff off pitch. Clasie had his tough contractual negotiations with Feyenoord, maybe Strootman is talking to some club, who knows. I expect a lot from Clasie. He wins challenges and he brings speed in the attack, with his pinpoint passing. Maher is very talented too, but Pot will have to work on his discipline. With Strootman and Clasie behind him, Maher needs to play high up the park. And he tends to drop deep at times to get the feel of the ball, but it stops the flow of the game. I also think he needs to be quicker in the turnaround. He tends to dream away still. The subs are great. Van Ginkel is very disciplined, Fer offers power and aggression and Vilhena is on his way to becoming a big player too.”
“Ola John played 40 games this season for Benfica. Not a bad team. That means a lot. Physically, he is strong too. In Portugal, they don’t treat wingers as ladies. They will beat you up with a smile there. Depay is quite a talent too. I like that lad. It was a big fashionable to say that Wijnaldum is not good enough. I didn’t like that. He is really one of the most developed players in this squad. He is still young, people forget that. Problem with Wijnaldum is, he is not a real winger. If the coach uses him, he needs to give him a free role to explore. And then John needs to be limited to playing stiff on the left. I do believe Jozefzoon is an excellent alternative. He had a top season. Luuk de Jong is a good central striker. Great header, good mentality. He is not the best football player, but hey… Hoesen is a logical choice behind him. I think Castaignos should have been there, but he has not wanted it enough. He simply doesn’t radiate that killer mentality. He runs around as if he doesn’t really care. He’ll need to change that. Hoesen hasn’t played a lot but whenever he got onto the pitch, he scored. A natural in the box.”