Dutch show designs on English traditions
Saturday 24 October 2009
The Land of Total Football is worried. It needs a Martin Keown.
The Dutch qualified impressively for next summer's World Cup finals, but there is concern that the tradition of intelligent passing defenders established by Ruud Krol, Frank Rijkaard and Ronald Koeman needs updating. For all the brilliance of the Oranje's attacking play in Euro2008 their defence crumbled in the quarter-finals when Andrei Arshavin began to tease at it. Dutch defenders have also been found wanting at club level so the search is on for defenders who can defend.
"For years it mattered more that our defenders played good football than whether they could defend," said Rob Fleur, of Dutch National Radio. "We would look at players like Martin Keown and Tony Adams and say, 'they can't play.' Now we need such players. There has been a change of philosophy in how we teach our 12 and 13-year-olds, but that does not help us now."
The Dutch teams in Europe this week, AZ, Ajax, Twente Enschede and PSV Eindhoven, fielded six Dutch defenders between them. Only two played in the Champions League – AZ's Kew Jaliens and Khalid Boulahrouz, formerly of Chelsea, now at Stuttgart.
Just as worrying is that the national team's back four is reliant on PSV's Andre Ooijer, who struggled to hold down a centre-half slot at Blackburn, and will be 36 on World Cup final day, and Gio van Bronckhorst, now at Feyenoord, who will be 35. Add the near certainty that Edwin van der Sar, 39 this week, will be talked out of retirement to keep goal and the Dutch will not lack for experience. Pace, and Keown-style nitty-gritty defending, may be a different matter.
PS: The address of Mike Trusson's admirable website was given wrongly in last Saturday's coaching feature. It is grassrootscoaching.com
Latest in Sport
Louis van Gaal denies problem with Wilfried Zaha despite Manchester United forward being given no game time
Calum Chambers: Who is Arsenal's £16m right-back target?
Manchester United latest: Angel Di Maria move no closer as Juan Mata emerges as Louis van Gaal's favoured No 10 as prospect of signing
Arsenal transfer news: Versatile Calum Chambers is a 'gamble', admits Arsene Wenger as Arsenal spending passes £50m
Arturo Vidal to Manchester United: Louis van Gaal resurrects £35m move for midfielder
The secret report that helps Israelis to hide facts
A day in the life of Vladimir Putin: The dictator in his labyrinth
Were 'Poor Doors' added to mixed developments so wealthy residents don't have to go in alongside social housing tenants?
Arizona execution lasts two hours as killer Joseph Wood left 'snorting and gasping' for air
A new Russian revolution: The cracks are starting to appear in Putin’s Kremlin power bloc
Opponents of Israel's military operation in Gaza are the real enemies of Middle Eastern peace