Here’s Will Burns with his preview of the Jong Oranje squad ready to travel to Israel for the UEFA Under-21 European Championships. Cor Pot’s side begin their campaign on June 6th against a formidable German side.
16. Marco Bizot (FC Groningen)
Bizot will be the number two choice for coach Pot after cementing his place in goal for FC Groningen this past season since his transfer this last summer. A product of the Ajax academy, he has made five appearances so far for Jong Oranje.
23. Nick Marsman (Go Ahead Eagles)
After spending the last season loaned out to promotion winning Go Ahead Eagles where he was a permanent fixture. Will be third choice in the championships.
1. Jeroen Zoet (PSV Eindhoven)
First choice goalkeeper who spent the last two seasons on loan at RKC Waalwijk in which he made 67 appearances. He returns to parent club PSV ready to face off with Polish ‘keeper Przemyslaw Tyton in a fight for the number one shirt. At 6ft 3inches he is commanding in the penalty area and comes out for crosses well and always looks the favourite to get to the ball.
20. Patrick van Aanholt (Chelsea)
A strong and determined left-back recently on loan at Europa League qualifiers Vitesse Arnhem where he picked up one goal in 35 games. Unfortunately for Patrick, with Daley Blind and Bruno Martins Indi in the squad alongside him, he may not find any game time in this tournament, even though his performances in the Eredivisie this season merits it.
5. Daley Blind (Ajax)
A championship winner three years in a row, the 22-year-old has done well at the left-back position in the absence of Nicolai Boilesen since September 2011, and lately admitted in the press that he is becoming comfortable with his role. A sure starter for the tournament, a disclipined player collecting only one yellow card in 40 games in the 2012/13 season.
13. Mike van der Hoorn (FC Utrecht)
The huge 20-year-old central defender has no doubt a big future in the game. A pure powerhouse and a threat from set-pieces, I would not except Van der Hoorn to be still at Utrecht in the foreseeable future. Last month he was linked with Arsene Wenger’s Arsenal with PSV and Ajax also rumoured to be the looking at the imposing youngster. Surely a starter for Pot this summer, the teams playing the Jong Oranje will have to do something special to beat this monster. Van der Hoorn looks a formidable athlete possessing all the qualities needed in a centre-back – speed, strength, a great leap and tremendous positioning. Could be a standout star of the tournament, and with the build and strength we could see him fit right at home in the Premier League.
4. Bruno Martins Indi (Feyenoord)
Already a full-fledged Oranje international defender, the 6ft 1inch Martins Indi is one of the brightest prospects in Dutch football particularly in a position that the Dutch national side have failed to staff effectively in recent tournaments. Strong, fast and composed, he is versatile and can play in the centre of defence or at left-back. However in the left of defence is where his current Feyenoord coach Ronald Koeman sees his future. Great in the air, he is also adept in possession when playing out from the back. The one small flaw is that he needs to work on his defensive positioning, although with time on his side, I am sure this will improve in the future.
14. Bram Nuytinck (Anderlecht)
A veteran to the Jong Oranje side with a total of 21 appearances to date. Another strong central defender, who plys his trade in the Belgian league with Anderlecht, who paid €3m for him from NEC last summer.
2. Ricardo van Rhijn (Ajax)
Ajax’s first-choice right-back who has recently been watched by the scouts from Serie A giants AC Milan. Van Rhijn is naturally a centre-back, yet has looked great at right-back this past season. Contracted to the Dutch champions until 2015, he may look to extend his experience abroad after this upcoming season. Normally the starter for Pot’s team and a leader at the back, who always does well to organise in the penalty area.
3. Stefan de Vrij (Feyenoord)
Made some terrible mistakes towards the end of the season at Feyenoord and will look to bounce back with a strong showing in this tournament. Heavily linked with a transfer to Everton of the Premier League but that was before manager David Moyes moved onto Manchester United. Recently signed an extension to his contract to stay at De Kuip he looks to stay in Rotterdam for some time to come. An elegant player on the ball with a good sense of positioning and an excellent man-marker but sometimes can be overpowered by a big striker.
12. Kelvin Leerdam (Feyenoord)
Leerdam is another stalwart in the Pot’s Jong Oranje team with 21 appearances although time will tell if he can add to that tally with the talent that surrounds him in the squad. A right-back that can fit in at defensive midfielder if needed, but more likely to be a reserve for Van Rhijn.
6. Jordy Clasie (Feyenoord)
Although small in stature, this young battling midfielder has the heart of a lion. He controls the machine that is Feyenoord, and many have compared his style to Xavi and consequently gaining the nickname of ‘Dutch Xavi’. With tremendous vision, before receiving the ball, Clasie already thinks out his next move as he has the ability to boss any midfield. Leading the Eredivisie in interceptions, he can also prove to be a dangerous threat going forward, rarely losing possession and feeding strikers the killer ball. Like De Vrij, recently extended his contract at Feyenoord, thwarting any rumours he was ready to move to Italy with Fiorentina.
17. Leroy Fer (FC Twente)
Central midfielder signed for Twente last summer after being one of the many products of Feyenoord’s youth academy. In his time in Rotterdam he made well over 100 appearances where he scored 14 goals. Fer has a fearsome physical presence and dynamic box-to-box energy. The reason that Fer may spend most of his time in this upcoming competition on the bench is a testament to the squad that Cor Pot has at his disposal. Look for him to come on when the Dutch have a lead and need a protector in there, because he is the man for the job. A solid player who does the simple things well, with a back catalogue of quality goals and assists aplenty and a career average of a goal every five games.
18. Marco van Ginkel (Vitesse)
Van Ginkel is an adaptable midfielder talented enough to take on both defensive and offensive roles. At Vitesse last season he was often positioned as a defensive midfielder, but his desire leads him to surge forward and assist his attacking partners. He does this quite well, with already 17 goals in 87 appearances; van Ginkel has displayed an impressive feat for a midfielder. Even though still only 19 years old, the midfielder made his international debut on 9th November 2012 against Germany. Marco is a key example of the current midfielder with great pace, strength, and tremendous fitness levels. Due to leave Vitesse is the summer, another player that could end up at Frank de Boer’s Ajax.
10. Adam Maher (AZ)
Looking to move onto to either PSV or Ajax this summer, Maher could well be another superstar in the making. A deep-lying playmaker with great vision, silky dribbling, fast feet, pace, technique alongside with his creativity enables him to produce holes in the oppositions defence. Displayed a tremendous performance in the KNVB Beker final last month scoring a great goal helping AZ lift the cup against a lacklustre PSV. Depending where Pot plays him, he could be a dangerous player in the tournament. The team will benefit more from his precise passing and long-range shooting if played behind the striker, which would work well with Strootman and Clasie behind him.
8. Kevin Strootman (PSV)
What can say about Kevin Strootman? Already a regular in the full Oranje side, a dominator of games against any team he plays. Strong, determined, driven with great technique, he possesses all the physical attributes that you would want from a central midfielder. One thing Pot may be criticised for is if he decides to pigeonhole Strootman into a defensive midfielder role, as he has so much to offer going forward. Linked to Manchester United through last season, he can remind many at Old Trafford of a young Bryan Robson if purchased by the English champions. A future world-class player and maybe a key member in the success of this team and the future of the national side.
19. Tonny Vilhena (Feyenoord)
A quick left footed midfielder, Tonny Vilhena is very balanced in control of the ball with both attacking and defensive qualities. Although small in height, his strength and determination are often underestimated as he will battle for the ball with great drive. For a player aged just 18, he can read the game very well and uses this to his advantage often. A strong shot from his dynamite left boot may take a few goalkeepers unaware in the tournament if he gets to experience some pitch time.
15. Georginio Wijnaldum (PSV)
Skilful player who has enjoyed his last two years at PSV Eindhoven, finding the net 23 times in 65 games. Wijnaldum’s favourite position is the central playmaker role, where he often played in his youth career and where Pot likes to feature him. He was only on the pitch for four minutes when he scored against San Marino for the full Oranje side in a Euro 2012 qualifier. As an attacking midfielder, good movement is so important to your game and he offers that on and off the ball. Playing in the gap between the oppositions defence and midfield is a key role and for a 21 year old he has really shown he has a player for the future, the near future. Despite having great movement he is a player that is confident to run at players with the ball and isn’t scared of a challenge. Wijnaldum has the ability to terrify defenders with some very important centre forward runs which have resulted in goals. Another guy with a big future on the international stage.
7. Florian Jozefzoon (RKC Waalwijk)
A wide striker that had a so-so time at RKC Waalwijk last season scoring just six goals from 33 starts. A product of Ajax youth system that was purchased by RKC last summer. Can be found on the right-wing turning full-backs inside out and a menace when cutting inside. Has the ability to finish well but may not see much time with such talent ahead of him.
22. Memphis Depay (PSV)
Speedy small winger Depay has tremendous ball control and constant thorn in the side of a defender. A great finisher, generally composed in the box and very good at helping the build up of play. A strong right foot has proven the PSV attacker an efficient crosser of the ball and good delivery from a free-kick. What has let him down is his attitude at times with past PSV managers Dick Advocaat and Fred Rutten questioning his commitment. Look for Depay to be a hit coming off the bench when the opposition’s defenders are tiring.
11. Ola John (Benfica)
Left footed forward who has enjoyed a great first season in Portugal for Benfica. An explosive striker who will prey on every ball that layed into him, you should find him sitting on the left wing on Pot’s teamsheet come the first game against the Germans on June 6th.
9. Luuk de Jong (Borussia Mönchengladbach)
A clinical finisher that demands the ball to be played through to him as soon as possible. Signing a five-year deal with Borussia Mönchengladbach last summer, his first season has not seen as many highlights as you would have expected. Scoring six times from nineteen appearances, injuries troubled him and he will look at this tournament as an attempt to bounce back and gain fitness for the season ahead. De Jong is more than comfortable on the ball, his movement without it, blessed with electric pace, is aided by instinctive understanding of his surroundings. He draws defenders out of position with clever jinking runs thus creating space for himself and teammates. He will be the focal point in Pot’s attack and if he can find the goalscoring touch he had at Twente he could lead the Dutch to glory.
21. Danny Hoesen (Ajax)
Former Fulham striker, Hoesen was a late call-up replacing the injured PSV striker Jurgen Locadia this past week. He previously scored on his only appearance for the Jong Oranje. A wide player who has progressed at Ajax this last season, scoring three goals from 11 games.
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