Your vote: best Dutch international of 2018

It’s your time now!

As we close to the end of the year, a year in which the drab and disgraced Dutch National Team straightened the back and rose, like a Phoenix from the ashes. With victories over the newly crowned World Champs, the former world champs and good results and performances overall vs the likes of Belgium and Portugal.

And the result: group winner in the Nations League and a big jump on the FIFA ranking.

Most importantly: the fans love the team again and the team loves playing for Holland again.

And boy, did we see tremendous development in our player? I mean, Denzel Dumfries?? Pablo Rosario?? Marten de Roon? Tonny Vilhena? Ryan Babel?

Time to pick the best international of the year… I’ll help you with some insights, but the vote is all yours. I’ll give you until December 1, and then we’ll announce the winner here, with a cool interview/article on the winner.

The Candidates

Virgil van Dijk, our captain, deserves the first mention. What to say… His year was tremendous. The big money move to Liverpool. The winner in his debut vs arch enemy Everton. His stats are terrific. In Oranje, he developed into a great leader and skipper, with the deciding goal in the final minutes vs Germany. Does it get better than that?

Virgil is a true natural leader. The way he handles his team mates, the way he covered up the young ball girl when he noticed she was shivering in the cold, the warm manner in which he consoled the ref after the Germany game, when Virgil learned the poor dude lost his mum (and got notified of that fact during the half time break). Virgil… pure class!

Memphis Depay is in the key age group for top notch peformances, and it shows. The former Sparta talent is a changed man. From arrogant, self-centered, headstrong wannabe winger in Manchester, he grew into a lethal striker in Lyon. With stats that are only topped by Messi and C Ronaldo. Better stats than Neymar and Mbappe, to name other forwards in France. The loner, who clashed with the likes of Sneijder and Van Persie is now a team player. One of the leaders on and off the pitch. Ever since he found God, Memphis is a better human being, more humble, active with his foundations for the lesser fortunate ones and on the pitch he is unstoppable.

He creates goals, he scores them, has a sensational corner kick delivery, hustles and hassles defenders, keeps three markers busy while working for the team and stretching the play. He’s clearly in a positive mindset, as he coaches, encourages and directs the play from the front.

Every “Best Player” award should go to a forward. A player who makes a difference. A player that draws people to the stadium. Cantona, Ginola, Ibrahimovic, C Ronaldo, Ozil, Ribery, Rooney… Memphis falls in that category and I personally don’t care what hat he wears or what colour leather seats are in his Bentley.

Frenkie de Jong is probably a solid candidate as well, even though he only played 4 caps for Oranje. His talent was spotted many years back and both Willem II and Ajax decided to bring this kid slowly. He was 20 years old when he made his first foray into Ajax 1. As opposed to the likes of Seedorf, Kluivert Sr and Jr and many others who got their first games at 16 or 17 years old. But once Frenkie made his mark on the first team, everyone could see his tremendous potential. So much so, that Frenkie is already the new footballing leader (playmaker) of Oranje. Everything goes via him. And he is already seen as unmissable. And its expected he’ll make a massive jump from Ajax to a world class team in the summer (Man City, Barca, Bayern, Real Madrid, Chelsea….).

Gini Wijnaldum has also made a sensational growth, finally, to establish his position in Oranje. Making his debut more than 10 years ago (!) at 16, in Feyenoord’s first team as a #10. Used as winger at PSV. Signed by Newcastle as box-to-box midfielder and in 2014 suddenly part of the Oranje midfield that got bronze in Brazil under Van Gaal. Van Gaal apparently was reluctant to use Wijnaldum as controlling mid, believing the always smiling Georginhio would be able to play there, but he managed and even scored vs Brazil in the losers final. Klopp signed him at Liverpool and immediately told him he signed him for the controlling mid role. Today, Liverpool uses him on any spot in midfield. Despite all the new midfield signings, Wijnaldum – when fit – plays. In Oranje, Frenkie de Jong’s game allows Gini to play further upfield and be more decisive for Oranje, scoring important goals.

Mathijs de Ligt is considered one of the best central backs in Europe and like Frenkie, appears on all the scouting lists. The grounded Dutch lad, called “Dickie” as he used to be a tad overweight in the Ajax youth (in Dutch, the word for fat is “dik” so he was called Dickie), is only 19 years old but plays like a 26 year old. Composed, focused, and utterly complete. Fast enough, strong, fierceful header of the ball, able to dribble infield (Dickie used to be a midfielder) and with a good long pass as well. De Ligt will go places. He’ll be the Oranje centre back for at least another 10 to 12 years (if he remains fit). And we’ll see him playing for one of the top teams in the world for sure (Bayern, Barca, Real Madrid).

Ryan Babel‘s story is the come back story of the decade (in Oranje). He broke through in Ajax as a winger, but was considered an ideal player for a 4-4-2, a system Ajax back then simply didn’t want to play. Babel made his name in Young Oranje, under Foppe de Haan and impressed with his physique, his “hip” shot and his speed and power. Ajax was happy to let him go for a decent offer as he didn’t fit the bill in Ajax’ 4-3-3. By then Marco van Basten brought him into Oranje where Babel scored in his debut game. San Marco called him “the next Thierry Henry”. His big money move to Liverpool got waylaid as he tore his ankle ligaments right before the Euros2008 and was ruled for a spell, which forced Liverpool to sign alternatives and Babel got behind in the pecking order (behind Dirk Kuyt, amongst others). Bert van Marwijk kept faith in Babel and used him extensively after the 2008Euros. Kenny Dalglish, manager at Liverpool, decided to bring Luis Suarez to the club and let Babel go. The dark days followed, with a stint at Hoffenheim which didn’t work out. He went back to Ajax to rejuvenate his career, but ended up in the Turkish competition and not much later choose the money of the UAE league. He ended up playing for the reserves there and was relieved to be able to return to Turkey via Deportivo La Coruna. Now he’s at Besiktas where his good form got him a spot in Advocaat’s Oranje back in 2017. The explosive winger from yesteryear is now a mature team player, playing as a wingback. He clearly acts as mentor for the younger lads (on the pitch and potentially in the music studio as well) and his workrate and tactical smarts have brought him lots of kudos from all Oranje fans and pundits.

Other candidates? Jasper Cillesen? Top goalie on the Barca bench, but usually strong when relied upon. Both in Spain as in Oranje. Although the two German goals last time around did seem stoppable… Or Daley Blind? Mr Reliable? Good touch. Superb vision. Excellent passing. Pleasant positive personality. But vulnerable in defence? Just not tall enough? Just not quick enough? Quincy Promes than? Scoring goals like there is no tomorrow for Spartak, but always a question mark in Oranje (and Sevilla). Despite all this, his success in Moscow was always as a number 9, so maybe Promes should be seen as the understudy for Memphis?

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  1. I can’t go past Virgil, some of you doubted his ability to become a great player, things like “too slow, turns like a boat, dose t read the game, etc,etc”. He has proven to be exceptional for our team as a leader and a defender, and as I witnessed in person for Southhampton, a striker if needed, he is a colossus!

    Cool poll Jan, thanks .

  2. Hmm, don’t be too hard on Luuk. He is better than most people think. It doesn’t look graceful and he isn’t quick but he is very effective.

    Dylan Vente is nothing like L de Jong

    1. Luuk there is always chance of some snake flicks and there is smell of Goal ..agree he is way to brilliant for such things..An areal threat to…Very unselfish guy who sacrifice for team ,even if he can shot he gives the pass to next guy who is at better position to shoot for goal.hence makes sure that we have a goal..

    2. Sorry but he was indeed a flop during his time in England

      He hasn’t scored a single goal for Newcastle .and that means he is a trillion light years distance compared to van Nistelrooy , Bergkamp , van persie and Robben etc

  3. Btw, I voted for Memphis.

    It was a tough one, but I think Virgil is the Leader and the figure head of the team, but literally The Best? That was Memphis for me. The Giroud goal vs Virgil was the key reason I tipped the scale in Memphis favour.

  4. Assume that Fosu,Dilrosun,Danjuma,Berwinj,Kluivert,Til,de Beek,de Jong,Dumfries

    With their potential, I hope that these players can develop good & earn Orange call up

    Chong,Redan,Boadu,Steng,Koopmeiners,Schuurs,Gravenberch,Chong,Malen,Hoogma,Pierie,Drongelen, Juste, Malacia, ter Avest, Bacuna

    Hopefully they don’t get floppy as Bazoer,Ola John, Ghazi, Kishna, Raidewal, Kardorf,Diks,Klassen, Janssen, Willems, etc

  5. Boadu,stengs and Redan has everything succeed at Top level…But 2 had really bad injuries that could cuase them deeply like happend to Castelen romeo,Kevin strootman,Van ginkel etc..
    i have not dropped hopes on karsdorp,Bazoer because both has got the talent..its all up to their hardwork..they can turn it arround like our Babel did..

    1. I was thinking along the same lines. Boadu now has had two serious injuries. It could well take its toll on his body as he recovers and when he continues to thrive towards his max ceiling. I would put a caution mark on him for now.

      It will also be intresting to see what happens to Redan at Chelsea. Tammy Abraham, dominic solanke , callum hudson odi were all highly rated when coming through the chelsea ranks but they are all somewhat floating right now few others.some big calls are to be expected when he graduates from the chelsea academy.

      1. Also I dont think Babel did anything to turn it around.there was simply a gap and his experienced pushed him through and also because of the stupidity of coaches who overlooked him. Babel was consistent performer through out but it was until he came to Beskitas that he found a firm grip.even during his days at kasimpasa he was quiet active.

        I have said this before, look at jeremine lens, what happened to him. He was struggling at Sunderland, was loaned to fenerbahce and now is with babel at you have to ask this question, why babel and not lens.well now the competition on the wings seems to have intensfied but if situation was going to be the same and given the same opportunity to lens like babel, I dont think he will be any different.for any player its always vital they find that firm grip in a team, otherwise its floating time.

  6. Did I hear somebody say Dylan vente is another Luuk.wowwwww.some justification would be warranted to that statement.he is a van persie type striker, covers a lot of ground and all rounded striker.arieal department would one of his weakness.

    1. How u compare him to Van Persie, i didn’t see his dribbling skill, i didn’t see his free-kick skill, i didn’t see him to score any special goal, GVB ‘s trying to motivate him but i am afraid he even doesn’t have potential as our Luuk de Jong at same age time.

      Van persie is another version of Dennis Berkhamp, he showed his potential at age of 17-18 & contributed a lot for a strong & quite high quality Feyenoord regularly team in first squad, while now Vente 19 yrs now but just a substitution of a poor Feyenoord

      1. “Covers a lot of ground” like van persie use to do.RVP never used to just station himself in the box and wait for the ball to him.he used to spread out on wings and even become a false striker.this is where I took the resemblance from.luuk is more a huntelaar type striker.pliz when I say type, it doesnt mean they are the same.only some qualities areidentical.

        Check out his movement and positing.

        He is more freeflow like how van persie was.

        I will agree Luuk was proflic during his early.days at twente but his ceiling was limited as a overall striker.

        Not to forget bas dost here and circumstance which led to.him from retire from international

  7. Roma in deep trouble. Were defeated 1-0 by udinese.this will certainly mount more pressure on di francesco who is on the brink of being fired. hidde ter Avest has finally broken into udinese starting 11 and started with Bram Nuytinck.

    Its not looking good for kluivert.whats depressing to see is him only involved in exchange of plays especially when he starts on the right.was replaced by under just after half time.

  8. Im not sure if anyone has been keeping tabs on Utrecht but they seem to be doing good under Dick Advocaat.I still remember sometimes back Nick vennmas name was mentioned in the Utretch camp as one of their raising talent from the academy.he has been in hot form for Utrecht 11 in eerste divisie.on the back of his impressive form which also included a hat trick win last week vs jong ajax, Dick threw him in the final quarter vs De Graafschap whom they crashed 5-0. Venema scored the last two goal to secure the emphatic win.if he continues with this form he certainly will become a regular for utrecht. If im not wrong then it was under jean paul de jong that he made his debut for utrecht, making few appearence and was relegated to jong utrecht when dick took over. Its always good to see rookies taking the big stage by storm and hopefully more is in store for him.


    I dont see any reason why this should not happen. It has been long overdue. Like I said its all about finding the right stability and he has defintely found it now at Vitesse.

    I have always rated this guy highly and after coming through so many odessey in his carrier he finally looks set to give it another shot.

    If only van gaal would have given him one chance but unfortunately…… neverthe less koeman is not van gaal and he still is 29 and given there is very few option on the left why not intensfy the competition.

  10. Voted for Van Dijk. Steady as a rock for both club and country. Sets the benchmark for others to be consistent performers. You know what you are going to get whenever you have him on the field.

    1. Yep. Roma only have themselves to blame. Missed chance after chance!

      As for the quiz, tough one, but I went for Frenkie as I feel he has been the missing piece of the jigsaw and allowed us to get back in touch with our (Netherlands) football culture and express ourselves more freely and attain more rhythm. Gone with the 3-5-2….. hurrah.

      De Roon would have been a good candidate (not that I would have voted for him). He’s brought a desperately needed level of ‘assurance’ to the midfield.

  11. CM: Propper,Klassen, de Jong, de Beek, de Roon, Wijnaldum,Vilhena,Fer,Rosario, Bazoer,Raidewal,Gravenberch, Ramselaar,Hendrix,Til, Koopmeiners,Strootman

    L/RB:Fosu,Juste,Kongolo,Janmaat,Dumfries,Kardorf,Blind, Malacia,Anholt,Diks,Brenet,Willems,Hanstoeber,Tete,ter Avest,Dijks,

    CD:van Dijk,Ligt,Vrij,Indi,Ake,Rekik,Gowvelown,Drovegen,Schuur,Hoogma,Bruma,Hoedt,Piere,Luckassen,Denswil,

    L/RW Dilrosun,Danjuma,Kluivert,Berwijn, Berghuis,Promes,Babel,Chong,Steng,El Ghazi,La Parra

    FW: de Jong, Wehought,Malen,Depay,Redan,Boadu, Lammers, Zikovic

    Our resource so far, who can still be material for Orange but so many levels

    1. Klassen requires 10 chances to score a goal,cannot dribble past a player like Propper does,i think we dont need him, we are better with out him like we dropped strootman..Fer is no where…
      Rest of the players are young i really like Rosario,Ramseelar,koopmeiners,,Both Raidwald and Bazoer can displace De roon if they fight back well.

    2. Martins Indi???Ohh God Please no…if it was not with Deligt started in NT…Deligt would not have such bad start in NT.
      Martins Indi guarentees a leakge at back when u add klassen upfront u make sure that u dont score even after 10 chances..Pleas HELL NO FOR KLASSEN,mARTINS INDI,STROOTMAN,LEORY FER

  12. Robben looked really sharp on his two goals for Bayern yesterday…I know he’s announced that he is retired from the NT, and he doesn’t fit with what Koeman seems to want from his forwards, but is it folly to wonder if he’d be available as a sub at the 60-70 minute mark if they qualify for the Euro’s?

    1. I’ve got mix
      Feeling for that

      As much as I’ve been a Long fan of Robben since over a decade ago

      We had Robben van persie and sneijder all the three and we still lost to Iceland didn’t we?

      1. declining van Persie and Sneijder
        Hiddink and Blind as manager
        RB – van der Wiel
        LCB – Martins Indi (in his slump form)
        CMs – Klaassen+Wijnaldum and Afellay+Nigel

        with respect toward Iceland, we’ll steamroll them with current roster… and most likely easier with Robben.

        1. KLASSEN,STROOTMAN,bmi,aFELLAY GOT MORE THAN enough time to prove their worth in NT..They never showed up..yes strootman was too good before injury…but tat was not the case anymore..BMI should never have played for NT after that Arjentina match where Van gaal had to hide him behinf kuyt and Blind,kuyt was much better defender than BMI..that was best for kuyt in his entire career for orange..
          look at team now
          strootman on bench Rest are omitted We BACK ON TRACK,Now we are kicking the hell out of Big teams…
          Please no more klassen,BMI,Afellay,Dost(he did a great Job by quitting NT)its a catastrophy…i cannot blame Vaart,RVP,Roben,Nijel and Sneijder,..they did maximum it was spoiled by some stuborn coaches like Bert and San times i felt sneijder was too slefish to shoot..i think he had policy of shoot at sight…Vaart would have passed such balls to a better positioned team mate..hence he makes sure that we score goals vs a tough team..thats why sneijder had good number of goals for himself for NT…though his shots has helped us at times,he should have looked to passing more vs a tough team like we faced Portugal in 2006 and SPain in 2010.etc…

  13. I watched psv u19 highlights against Barca u19 today and a player from psv u19 had a crazyyyyy assist then someone posted highlights of this player during this game, I got excited and checked his name he is Dutch his name is Mohammed ihattarein or something like that but the kid is super talented what do u guys think?

  14. I really praise for some players like van Dijk, de Roon, Hoedt, Hanstuboer they originaled from not big academy they chose some average clubs to move abroad to learn more & more & get cleansheet there ,then step-up very solid & mature.

    1. Tbh Hoedt is struggling with the pace of epl. Van dijk made it into NT when he started playing for Southampton, hoedt on the other hand has not being able to convince anyone with his performance so far.their current standings which is 2nd last jus sums up what they are going through.hoedt has struggled when ball is played behind him and in counter attack situation he often is left cut out as a frustrated figure.

  15. Nick Venema continuing his fine run for Utrecht after coming on the second half to stage a come back 3-3 vs excelsior.scored the second goal after trialing 3-0 at HT

  16. Germany again ! What the ……….

    How do you guys feel about that ? Do you think they should be more scared than we are , or is it the other way ?

    Anyways , top two of the group will qualify , and there is no more Iceland anymore 😀

    1. Shit. I want other teams. Sweden or iceland or etc. Just not germany. Always worst group for netherlansd. Estonia and north ireland are not in good form. Just look at poland group. They always in easiest group.

    2. Yan We have a better coach Now..So dont worry..
      Team should not be complacent,There should not be any injury..We are automatic choice to play off even if we bottom the group by reaching nations league semifinal..
      We are no longer under Hiddink or Blind thats good news
      We dont play with Afellay,Dost,BMI,Weil,klassen and many more flops..
      Soon we will drop strootman and co…
      We are getting better and better
      We will top the group if they show some intensity…But everything will be collapsed if BMI,Klassen,Janmaat and some players comes back in to team..thats less likely..

      1. Yes ! BMI klaasen Amd Dost all those rotten tomatoes gone !

        I’m Not sure if it was just me but when Dost made her announcement It made my day

        Affelay, I once thought he would become the king . Does anyone exactly knows why he ended up
        like this today?

        Can’t wait to see strootman go . Thanks for his contribution for the 2010 wc qualifiers
        We don’t need him anymore now 🙂

        1. Afellay had many injuries. I would like to say unlucky but I think avoiding injuries or coming back from injuries is part of the game. The best players know how to avoid injury (Ronaldo, Messi) or come back from injury (Robben).

          Klaassen is actually playing well in Bundesliga now. He would be an option for Koeman if he keep playing like that.

          1. There was a time he didnt had injurues,He was always looking down and was a uselsess dribbler of ball…i dont think he had the classic intelligence to suceed at Top level..
            Klassen For God sake we dont need him,neither he cannot score nor he cannot dribble past 8 year old boy…Yes he score after wasting 5 good chances….We need Players who can score from zero chances thats the game deciding players…klassen,Strootman ,Dost,BMI,Janmaat,stekelenburg, got moer than enough chances to qualify us to 2016 and 2018..they failed We dont need them anymore..

  17. Bad group compared to others. We never get an easy group. Look at France, Poland, Italy, England. I wouldn’t want Germany again after playing 2 matches against them . They always kick the shit out of the minnows like Belarus, Estonia and we always struggle when we play these teams away. We may not top this group. Also this is a 5 team group. Do we know for sure that 2 top teams qualify? Other groups have 6 teams. Not thrilled.

  18. Daley sinkgraven made his long injury return for ajax vs ADO Den Hag replacing Laybad in the second half.timing is also good as winter break and camp is coming up soon and this will give him more time to catch up with team. hope he leaves up to his bill and puts his injury past behind.

    1. I was watching it live and thought his kick was embarrassing and end of the game. As soon as I turned my back I heard the goal screams. What an unbelievable goal and how cruel for Everton. Liverpool didn’t deserve the win and this year they do not seem really sharp. I have a feeling they won’t make it past group stage in CL and that wouldn’t be good for our 2 guys.

      1. Just the most bizarre ending to a match I can remember. Pickford will be seeing that in his sleep for a long time.

        It was a horrible volley. And it worked.

        Luck like that is priceless.

        1. it was Horrible Volley as a result of his try.that happens and understandable how the ball came to his leg…how ever it resulted in goal by another guy…that was luck and hilarius..van dijk is a nice finisher of balls much better than Dost,klassen type he can be excused even its a mistimes volley…Look at his finish vs Germany ..klassen would have shoot directly to Manual Neuer …

  19. I will definitely put England in the front seat at the moment simply because they are a collective unit whom all are doing exceptionally well at club level.also I think their u21s are also in for a good transition in few years time as most of them are also enjoying top flight football. I see them france in making like few years back when young french talents were on a rise.

    unfortunately the same cant be said for the dutch. the transition from boy to men is big question mark when it comes to dutch talents.

  20. I don’t see any way England can win against us

    They envy us our central back and wish to have a Virgil van Dijk

    I don’t see them a midfield anything special about

    The only way we to strengthen is our front paterships with Depay , and a plan B should Depay gets injured

    I have been watching England playing since 1998 and no , never I will think they are stronger than us .

    They have always envy the talents we had and kept producing

    Ruud van Nistelrooy , Robben , Bergkamp , hasselbank , overmars , van persie , van der vaart , the list can go on

    Deep in their heart they know we are better than them . With all the respect , we need to focus 100% when playing them

    1. Didnt they win last time out.Its always good to know about your opponents and given the players that england currently have or are in form it would be foolish to write them off just because the dutch have some key players in certain department.

      You look at the game changes in both side. Sterling is the first name that comes to mind where as Depay is the only one that has been in the fore front for the dutch.then you have harry kane who obviously will divert attention.

      The current english side play a straight high tempo game and not backwards and this is where it will all come down to.

      1. Yes
        By all means I wrote them off

        Still I think we are and should better then them

        There are still 6 months to go and by then we will have a stronger oranje team and more depth with the subs

  21. Anwar El ghazi was on cross road at Aston Villa and looked to be doomed after being struck to the bench under steve Bruce.few weeks back under new coach he got the chance to play and he he hit the ground rolling coming on as sub and scoring the fifth goal in 5-5 thriller vs Nottingham forest.after his this performance he played full 90 in the next match vs Middlesbrough and then again he scored 2 goals vs wes brom today.all in all in the space of three games he has salavage his fading start at Aston villa which turning out to be a nightmare.This should give him the boost, cofindence and stability that he needed and will also force aston villa extend his loan unless lille who are also having a good season in ligue 1 decide to call him back based on his recent resurgence.

    This guy will be back.

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