Tag Archives: Louis Van Gaal

Roma rule out selling Strootman to Man Utd

AS Roma manager Rudi Garcia has ruled out selling Dutch international midfielder Kevin Strootman. On the eve of Roma playing Manchester United in a pre-season friendly, it is thought that new Red Devils manager Louis Van Gaal is interested in signing the 24-year-old.

Garcia said: “Strootman is a Roma player, he will be a Roma player this year. There is no doubt about that. Only he can say whether he wants to stay but it was never an issue for him to go to another club. There is no question of it.”

“Strootman is following a normal recovery programme,” said Garcia. “He has stayed in Boston to work with our physios and he will start running any time soon.” The central midfielder sustained a cruciate knee ligament injury in March, which ruled him out for the Netherlands at the World Cup in Brazil.

Van Gaal is thought to be a huge admirer of Strootman who he described along with Robin Van Persie and Arjen Robben as one of his three captains in the Dutch national team.

Due to Strootman’s injury, Van Gaal had to change the Netherlands formation from 4-3-3 to 5-3-2 as he felt that he did not have a central midfielder of the same quality as the former PSV Eindhoven man. With the midfielder seemingly having returned from injury quicker then expected reports in Italy claim United may make a £30 million bid. Roma however don’t have to sell as they unlike the Red Devils can offer Champions League football and Strootman dependent on his fitness may not even pass a medical were a bid to be accepted.

If Strootman was to leave Roma to join Manchester United then it is most likely to happen in the January transfer window or next summer when United are in a better position to negotiate and with the player having fully recovered form his long term injury.


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Daley Blind could be Man Utd’s surprise signing

Since Louis van Gaal was announced as the new Manchester United manager in late June, if you are Dutch and not linked with a move to Old Trafford then you can count yourself unfortunate. Speculation around who the new boss is going to bring with him was always going to be elevated because of the third place finish they achieved which was well above expectations writes Joe Maloney.

A number of eye catching displays were noticed throughout the tournament especially after the 5-1 and 3-0 thrashings to Spain and Brazil.  In truth, you wouldn’t have found many people picking the likes of Nigel De Jong, Stefan De Vrij, Wesley Sneijder Memphis Depay and Jordy Clasie as the players who were going to reinvigorate a team that finished its worst ever Premier League campaign in seventh place. It is clear, Manchester United require an influx of new faces if they are to mount a serious title push this coming season.

One player who should be high on the list however is Daley Blind. A man who was very familiar to the Dutch management structure for this tournament, with his father Danny being employed as LVG’s right hand man. Blind, 24 who graduated through the famous Ajax academy (a club close to Van Gaal’s heart) possesses a number of qualities that would ensure him to be an important player in the new United regime.

His outstanding display at left wing back, against defending champions Spain, was one of the outstanding performances of the tournament. Few forget Robin van Persie’s remarkable diving head was met from an outstanding cross field ball from Blind. Left-back, his most natural position, is something United will need cover for because of the recent sale of Patrice Evra to Juventus. There is no other recognised left back remaining except for new signing Luke Shaw.

Although Shaw has been brought in from Southampton for £27 million, it will be impossible to ask an eighteen year old to play his first full season at one of the biggest clubs in the world without a dip in form or injury. Blind has demonstrated his ability to play at wing back, should Van Gaal decide to utilize the 5-3-2 system that worked so well for the Netherlands over the summer.

One of the attractions to Van Gaal’s style of management is his ability to recognise things are not working how he would like and switch to a different system that his players know like the back of their hand. He did this a number of times during the tournament, which saw Blind perform well in a slightly deeper defensive role, while the team changed to a vintage 4-3-3 formation. He has also tailored his game to be a useful central defender. The new boss has made it clear to the clubs hierarchy that it is a priority to bring in players within this area after losing the experienced figures Rio Ferdinand and Nemanja Vidic. The only recognised centre defenders remaining in the squad are Johny Evans, Chris Smalling and Phil Jones, all of which struggled with injuries and form last season.

After beating LA Galaxy in their first pre season game 7-0, Van Gaal insisted United would continue playing the 5-3-2 when the season began. Therefore, it is obvious signings will need to be made. Darren Fletcher finished the match Pasadena at the back because of the lack of depth available. Daley’s international team mate Stefan De Vrij has also been linked with a move to Old Trafford, although he appeared to struggle whenever tactics were switched to a 4-3-3 system and he had only one central partner. De Vrij has been put up for sale by Feyenoord since the conclusion of the World Cup which casts major doubts over his capabilities.

The most valuable problem Blind will be able to solve in United’s team is the holding midfield role vacated by the injury to Michael Carrick. Although Carrick remains an important player for the reds, it is obvious this area of the team requires refreshing. Currently, it lacks pace, power, energy, drive, creativity and stability. Ander Herrera is an almost certain starter next term yet it is apparent van Gaal would like to add to this area. Marouane Fellaini, brought in by David Moyes for a extravagant fee of £27 million is not good enough for a club of United’s stature. Darren Fletcher is unlikely to ever be the player he once was, before his unfortunate illness, and Tom Cleverley has failed to live up to the promise he once suggested.

Blind was a regular in the Ajax side that culminated in being crowned League champions last season. At the age of 24, he has the majority required, yet years ahead of him to establish himself in the middle of the park. His naturally defensive mind-set may profit Herrera, also in his first year with the club. Herrera, who was second to Fabregas in attempting through balls in La Liga last year, will be expected to create opportunities for Robin van Persie and Wayne Rooney. At the same time he is very comfortable on the ball and uses possession well. National team mate Nigel De Jong is regularly criticised for his passing ability, therefore making him a better option.

Another Dutchman who will likely be signed by Van Gaal is Kevin Strootman. He is a big fan of the Roma anchor man, however the serious knee injury picked up last season ruled him out of the World Cup and he has only just recently started training. Therefore it is unlikely Strootman will be signing for United this summer. That is a possible deal likely to be revisited in January or next summer.

The new United boss has said he wants to assess his options before making any further signings this summer. However, it is predicted a number of investments will be made before the transfer window shuts at the end of August. Deals may happen late in the window. The club starts the season without having to play any of last season’s top six teams in the first six fixtures of the new campaign. Therefore the panic for deals to be completed isn’t as frantic as in past seasons. If United are to regain the title from neighbours Manchester City next May, they will have to have the best squad because of the strains the Premier League creates. Flexibility is key for the different types of opposition that will be faced. Consequently the signing of Daley Blind may not be the biggest signing Manchester United make this summer but it may just be the valuable one that helps Louis van Gaal deliver success in his first season at Old Trafford.


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Van Gaal promises entertaining football at Man Utd

Former Netherlands manager Louis van Gaal was unveiled as the new manager of Manchester United today at Old Trafford with promises of entertaining football and more intimacy on the training ground at Carrington.

Van Gaal took an unfancied Netherlands side to a World Cup semi-final and only then lost out narrowly to Argentina on penalties.

An unfancied Manchester United side, who finished seventh last season, will benefit from van Gaal’s deiscipline, tenacity and know how. While Van Gaal was not willing to give away to much, his number two at the World Cup, Patrick Kluivert, asserted how Van Gaal would be definitely trying to win the title in his first season, and went on to throw his name in the hat regarding a coaching position with the club, via an interview with TalkSport.

There has been a rash of speculation reagrding the players that Van Gaal is looking to axe, with Anderson, Nani, Wilfried Zaha, and Ashley Young some of the names mentioned. The Manchester United squad leave for their US tour today with Anderson staying behind to do work at Carrington, meaning the Brazilian has been on the end of several media reports today.

The Dutch coach was introduced alongside club legend Bobby Charlton at 3pm. Van Gaal was full of praise for Chalrton and his influence on the English game before offering his first glimpse of the icy figure that he is sometime sportrayed as, when asked about predictions on United’s success, “I will not give predictions. It is the biggest club in the world. When you see my career you can see what I have won. The future will show if I can do that again.”

This was before sending out a warning to any clubs threatening to steal United’s crown as England’s biggest club, “’It is a great challenge because of that and that is why I chose this club. I have coached Barcelona, Ajax and Bayern Munich who are all No 1 in their country. Now I am at Manchester United which is No 1 in England.”

The speculation linking players with moves away means little to Van Gaal, however, who appears quick to give every player a chance using his innovative tactics, “’Shaw and Herrera were already on the list. I gave my approval because I like them. I want to see the (current) players perform with my philosophy.”

A lot has been said about the importance of Van Gaal’s captain within his squad and the new manager reiterated this point, “All the players are a possible candidate. But I have to get to know them. The captain’s role is very important and I need time.” before going on to state the obvious following questions about himself, “‘I am democratic. I am empathetic to human beings and I have a strong personality.” and this was also before the inevitable was mentioned, Alex Ferguson. Ferguson and van Gaal are said to enjoy a certain amount of control, but van Gaal claims there is a difference between being autocratic and strong personality.

A relationship with Sir Alex is something that van Gaal says he is looking forward to cultivating, while mentioning that sharing a glass of wine is something that he would enjoy. Despite the fact that Ferguson is now retired, he still holds a very special place at Manchester United.

A massive amount of Van Gaal’s players are young, inexperienced and unknown. This is something the Dutchman certainly tries to instill in his squads, stating that experience is not a very big factor for him.

So it seems Louis van Gaal is the same man as we thought he was. Big on bringing in youngsters, quick with a phrase to journalists speaking out of turn, and always quick to defend his philosophies and management style. David Moyes lacked the kind of personality to make it at the top level, but van Gaal certainly looked at home and confident during his first press conference with his new club.


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Van Gaal and RVP on their Man Utd future

As the curtain came down on World Cup 2014, Louis van Gaal and his captain Robin van Persie were asked several questions about their return to Manchester United among other things following their 3-0 defeat of hosts Brazil in the third place play-off.

While the tournament became as much about Ron Vlaar’s defending and Louis van Gaal’s tactics as it did about the individual brilliance of Neymar and Messi, almost every player that had a good game for the Dutch was in one way or another linked with a move to Manchester. Stefan de Vrij, Daryl Janmaat, Daley Blind, Nigel de Jong and Arjen Robben have all been linked with a summer move, and while we appreciate the fact that you can disregard most of it, some of the speculation might have foundation in something real.

While van Gaal departs his role as head coach of the Netherlands, the time has come for Gus Hiddink to replace one of the most popular men in Dutch footballing memory.  “I have a special bond with him,” said Robben. “He is the most important coach in my career. After the match he did ask me to come to Manchester.”

While van Gaal did nothing to stave off any further speculation with a “he is always welcome” quote, it doesn’t seem likely that an aging Robben would be willing to change his life in Germany for a few short years in Manchester, although his form during the World Cup might suggest he has a more than just a few years left yet.

Robin van Persie, who immediately went to the stand and gave his bronze medal to an eccentric Dutch fan, went on to throw further fuel on the transfer fire with some cryptic messages about possible future Manchester United signings.

He grinned when pressed by journalists and replied with a grin, I’ll admit that I know a little bit more than you sometimes, but I can’t say anything!”. This would suggest that there are more signings on the way, and also shows how close a bond Van Gaal and his captain Van Persie have.

Louis van Gaal’s arrival into the Premier League is being looked upon as a challenge by many of his peers, as he is widely renowned as one of the most tactically brilliant coaches there is. Along with Ronald Koeman, who takes over Southampton, and whoever Van Gaal brings with him from the Dutch squad, the growing Dutch connection in the Premier League will benefit fans from all walks.

Two days off is all Van Gaal requested before flying to the USA with his new squad. “I hope the group in Manchester will become like this one. We have to sing from the same hymnsheet.” said van Gaal about his new role at Manchester United.

“I hope at Manchester United I can do my best. I will do my best. Whether that’s enough for the fans I will wait and see, but I genuinely hope that will be the case.”

It was not enough to win the World Cup for the Netherlands, but it was certainly enough to convince fans of Netherlands and Manchester United that Van Gaal is a fine coach with plenty of ideas left unshared, and whoever has the good fortune to have him as a coach will benefit.


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Manchester United target to join Lazio?

Lazio’s Sporting Director, Igli Tare, has declared that Feyenoord centre-back Stefan de Vrij wants to join his club, despite claims that Manchester United were targeting the Dutch international writes Robbie Dunne.

While the “Dutch international to Manchester United” rumours need to be taken with a pinch of salt, it would not be unthinkable given how well he played during Netherlands run to the semi-final of the World Cup. He was pivotal to the Netherlands’ solid defensive setup, alongside Ron Vlaar and Bruno Martins Indi as a back three.

Lazio were initially interested in the defender, but their interest believed to have cooled due to the fact that Manchester United and, more importantly, Louis van Gaal had become interested in the 22-year-old but Tare remains adamant that de Vrij wants to play in Italy and for Lazio.

De Vrij is comfortable as a centre-back but can also play as a right-back and he burst onto the scene during the 2009/10 season with his current club Feyenoord. He has since amassed 135 appearances for the club, despite being only 22 years old.

Louis van Gaal played the defender in all six of the Netherlands’ World Cup 2014 games and he really excelled in the spotlight. He was immense against Costa Rica and Argentina, in particular.

Manchester United’s depth at centre-back is poor having lost club captain Nemanja Vidic and veteran Rio Ferdinand during the summer. Lazio, on the other hand, could also do with a boost at the position.

De Vrij’s contract runs until the summer of 2015 and could cost as little as €5 million, but Feyenoord are hoping to hold out for more as the transfer window draws to a close.


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WORLD CUP: Netherlands vs. Argentina Preview

The characteristics of the second semi-final of the 2014 World Cup are eerily similar to that of the first. On one hand, you have a team bouyed by the brilliance of a Barcelona superstar, with an overpowering support due to the geographical location of the tournament, a somewhat suspect defense and plenty of questions left unanswered after the group stage, last 16 and quarter-final matches. On the other hand you have a European team based on systems, formations and tactics, with a rotating cast of characters that are slotted in and taken out to fit requirements, with technical brilliance coming out of their ears.

You don’t get any medals for being able to establish what team falls into what category. Argentina will be relying on the individual brilliance that is Lionel Messi and the possibility of him not showing up, or the more possible eventuality that van Gaal figures out how to close him out of the game, is a scary one for Argentinian fans and players.

The Netherlands will be looking to the sideline and what Louis van Gaal can muster up to defeat their South American opponents. While Arjen Robben has been immense from the first game against Spain, Louis van Gaal has been stealing the spotlight for the entirety of the competition and the signs point towards that happening yet again on the field in Sao Paulo.

While many expected last night to be a war of attrition, it ended up to be the exact opposite but you can expect tonight’s game to be the battle that we have bee waiting for. The longer the game goes without a goal, the likelier it is that a mazy dribble by Messi will decide it.

A lot is riding on the availability of Nigel de Jong and should he be able to play, a man-marking job on Lionel Messi is exactly what can be expected from the A.C Milan midfielder. Louis van Gaal has made it no secret that he has a plan for Lionel Messi and it will be difficult to bet against the Dutch manager, given his ability to develop and coach a fully functional system.

Argentina don’t score many goals on the counter, but they do spend quite a large percentage of time in the attacking third of the field, so it is a matter of van Gaal making sure his defense is structurally solid as opposed to being good in transition. The Dutch have been solid throughout the World Cup and, as stated, if De Jong can play, this will be the deciding of the match.

As for de Jong’s replacement? Daley Blind is a possibility but his lack of pace might be shown up, De Guzman may not have the quality to live with Lionel Messi, Jordy Clasie is a poor tackler and might have to do a lot of it against the little maestro. As the saying goes, only time will tell as to how van Gaal is thinking.

Ron Vlaar is doubtful with a knee injury, but the beauty of van Gaal’s system is that it is similar to a “plug-and-play” device. The fact that Vlaar has been so good is the fact that van Gaal’s philosophy is based on the whole being better than the sum of it’s parts. This injury concern could be just another way for van Gaal to show of his tactical nuance on one of the biggest stages in World Football.

Robin van Persie’s availability is also in question (stomach and intestinal issues) and, if he is available, would be a good bet to score first against the Argentines. He has not scored in the knockout stages and could break the tie open with a goal against a questionably porous Argentinian defense. The Argentinians tend to concede more shots than they might like and a player with Van Persie’s finishing could capitalise on that kind of statistic. Van Persie is the captain of the side and van Gaal’s leader on the field. He has a stomach issue and did not train with the squad on Tuesday.

The Netherlands also like to exploit the wings and, in the absence of Angel di Maria, will certainly create chances from these positions, particularly on the right hand side with Kuyt there to allow Robben the freedom he has enjoyed so much throughout the tournament.

If the Netherlands can get their tactics right, it could end up being another beating for the South Americans, but don’t expect a hammering like last night. A 3-1 victory for the Dutch is, however, possible given their solidity at the back and quality in attack.

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De Jong to return for Van Gaal?

While Louis van Gaal has never needed much of an excuse to tinker with his formations and personnel, we are sure that he would prefer to have a full compliment of players available when he is picking his team heading into their World Cup semi-final against Argentina on Wednesday.

The good news on that front for van Gaal is that Nigel de Jong might have recovered in time from the groin injury that kept him out of the quarter-final clash with Costa Rica – a game that they subsequently won on penalties.

Early in the Netherlands last 16 meeting with Mexico, de Jong went down with a groin injury and the worst was feared. The initial recovery time was two to four weeks and the semi-final will only be 10 days since the original injury, so to say the chances are slim would be an understatement. But the fact that there is even a chance is a testament to the player and his commitment to playing for his country. That initial recovery time would have been enough to rule him out of the entire World Cup but the A.C Milan midfielder said recently that, “We will see, I will do everything in my possibility to start this game as it is only one game to the final.”

Having decided to stay with his teammates for nothing more than moral support, it is believed that his recovery is moving a lot quicker than expected.

The Dutch boss was forced to switch to a 3-4-3 against Costa Rica with two things being taken into consideration. The fact that he didn’t have as many midfield options as he might have liked, and the extra attacker might yield more against weaker opposition.

Georginio Wijnaldum and Wesley Sneijder played in midfield with Memphis Depay starting up front in the modified line-up but against Costa Rica. Against Argentina, however, a player like de Jong will be needed to curb any influence that Lionel Messi might have on the game and will more than likely man-mark him if that is the tactic that Van Gaal chooses to deploy as opposed to a more zonal based defensive setup. Pushing attacking threats deeper and deeper and away from goal is something that Nigel de Jong has carved a career for himself doing.

De Jong, who many feel didn’t paint himself in glory during the 2010 World Cup final with his infamous high tackle on Xabi Alonso, is eager to make it back to the same juncture of the competition with a different outcome this time.

De Jong has had somewhat of a resurgence during the World Cup and is now linked with a move back to England and Manchester, this time to the red half of the city. He played in all three of the Netherlands’ group games and was unlucky to have pulled up so early against Mexico but a possible return against Argentina would defeat all odds.


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Van Gaal explains Krul and Cillessen switch

For any other manager and it would be classed as a bizarre gamble but not Louis van Gaal.

Last night, with the game producing no goals and entering stoppage time at the end of extra time, Van Gaal replaced first choice goalkeeper Jasper Cillessen with substitute goalkeeper Tim Krul. The decision proved to be a tactical master stroke as Krul went on to save spot-kicks from Bryan Ruiz and Michael Umana to secure the Netherlands a 4-3 penalty shootout victory and a semi-final clash on Wednesday night against Argentina in Sao Paulo.

Van Gaal stated after the match that Cillessen was not aware of the possible substitution because he did not want to “ruin the preparation” of the Ajax stopper.

“Thankfully it worked out because otherwise I’d have made the wrong tactical change.”


Cillessen has made no mistakes for the Dutch so far and even made a decisive last gasp save to prevent the Costa Ricans from snatching the victory last night. However out of the four goals that Cillessen has conceded in the tournament, two of which have been penalty kicks. After weighing up this and Newcastle’s Tim Krul impressing at the training camp, the Manchester United manager made the huge decision to exchange them with seconds of  extra-time remaining.

Proud of his actions, the Oranje coach said: “We found that among our three goalkeepers that Krul was the best at saving penalties because he has a longer reach. So we studied the Costa Rican penalties and you can see that Krul guessed the right way every time. I am really pleased that the decision paid off.”

Although, for the first time this tournament, we did see some unrest in the Dutch camp with the substitution decision. Once taken off, many witnessed Cillessen booting water bottles on the touchline and had to be consoled by team-mates. Watching from the sideline, it did not take long for Cillessen to get over his disappointment of being substituted as raced on the pitch and punched the air in celebration once Krul has performed his heroics.

The decision was a huge risk but the more intimidating Krul seemed to upset the Costa Ricans before each penalty was taken. In a true example of gamesmanship, the Newcastle keeper would talk to each player before they lined up their shot, and proceeded to jump up and down on the line to make himself fill out the goalmouth.

It worked a treat as Krul looked super confident during the shootout, saving the second and fifth penalties. Afterwards, Krul stated that is he was delighted with his role.

Krul, talking to De Telegraaf, stated “Tonight I have realised a dream and what I experienced out there is an incredible emotion. The coach had warned me it may happen and I was fully prepared, as I knew that I may have had this opportunity.”

Van Gaal has announced, although he was thrilled with Krul’s shootout performance, Cillessen would keep his place in the starting line-up. “There is no question about who will start next game, it will be Cillessen.”


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Gullit: Van Gaal to Tottenham is a ‘done deal’

Ruud Gullit believes that current Oranje head coach Louis van Gaal is set to become new Tottenham Hotspur manager in the new season and has even gone as far to state it is a ‘done deal’ writes Will Burns.

Talking to BBC’s Radio 5, Gullit claimed that the Dutchman has already met with Spurs chairman Daniel Levy and Van Gaal has discussed terms of the deal that will start at the beginning of the new Premier League campaign in August.

This story will upset current boss Tim Sherwood, whom Spurs had appointed Tim Sherwood on an 18-month deal in December following the dismissal of Andre Villas-Boas but it appears the Dutchman will replace him in the summer.

Van Gaal, 62, will himself be replaced by Guus Hiddink as Netherlands national team coach after the upcoming World Cup finals in Brazil. Van Gaal recently publicized that he would like to manage in the Premier League stating: ‘I’ve always said that I want to work in the Premier League, so there’s a chance.’ 


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In a 33 man squad, RVP & Huntelaar return for France clash


Oranje coach Louis van Gaal has named a huge 33-man provisional squad for the Netherlands’ friendly match with France on March 5th in Paris. The friendly with France is the first of four warm-up games for the Dutch ahead of this summer’s World Cup in Brazil.

Dutch captain Robin van Persie returns after having missed his country’s last two friendlies through injury.

Also recalled is Schalke striker Klaas-Jan Huntelaar, who has only recently made his comeback after a knee injury. The 30-year-old striker had spent five months on the sidelines but has scored two goals in four league appearances for the Bundesliga side since returning to action after the winter break.

Van Gaal has also announced six players to his squad who could win their first cap including dangerous winger Jean-Paul Boëtius, who has been in great form over the past few months for Feyenoord and could receive his first cap in Paris. Other possible debutants in the squad include PSV pair Karim Rekik and goalkeeper Jeroen Zoet, FC Twente’s Quincy Promes, Vitesse’s Davy Pröpper and Ajax’s Davy Klaassen.


GOALKEEPERS: Jasper CILLESSEN (Ajax), Tim KRUL (Newcastle United), Maarten STEKELENBURG (Fulham), Kenneth VERMEER (Ajax), Michel VORM (Swansea City), Jeroen ZOET (PSV).

DEFENDERS: Daley BLIND (Ajax), Jeffrey BRUMA (PSV), Stefan DE VRIJ (Feyenoord), Bruno MARTINS INDI (Feyenoord), Daryl JANMAAT (Feyenoord), Karim REKIK (PSV), Gregory VAN DER WIEL (Paris Saint-Germain), Joel VELTMAN (Ajax), Paul VERHAEGH (FC Augsburg), Ron VLAAR (Aston Villa).

MIDFIELDERS: Jordy CLASIE (Feyenoord), Nigel DE JONG (AC Milan), Siem DE JONG (Ajax), Leroy FER (Norwich City), Davy KLAASSEN (Ajax), Davy PROPPER (Vitesse), Stijn SCHAARS (PSV), Wesley SNEIJDER (Galatasaray), Kevin STROOTMAN (AS Roma).

FORWARDS: Jean-Paul BOETIUS (Feyenoord), Memphis DEPAY (PSV), Klaas-Jan HUNTELAAR (Schalke), Dirk KUYT (Fenerbahçe), Luciano NARSINGH (PSV), Quincy PROMES (FC Twente), Arjen ROBBEN (Bayern Munich), Robin VAN PERSIE (Manchester United).


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PSV pair picked by Van Gaal


PSV Eindhoven’s young centre back duo, Jeffrey Bruma and Karim Rekik, have been called up by Louis van Gaal for the Oranje’s two World Cup qualifiers next month. The pair featured in Tuesday’s Champions League’s 1-1 draw with PSV and AC Milan.

It is the first time that Rekik has received a call up, joining PSV on loan from Manchester City. while Bruma, who already has four international caps, has been selected for the first time under Van Gaal’s leadership.

Eighteen-year-old Rekik and the 21-year-old Bruma are part of Philip Cocu’s youthful PSV side who have took the Eredivisie by storm this season, winning all three games of the year so far.

However, the 22-man squad for the two away World Cup qualifiers against Estonia in Tallinn on September 6th and Andorra on September 10th, announced by the KNVB on Wednesday, is again without Galatasaray midfielder Wesley Sneijder, who was surprisingly dropped for friendly against Portugal earlier this month.

Van Gaal stated then that he felt that Sneijder was not fit enough. Schalke striker Klaas Jan Huntelaar, Swansea City’s Jonathan de Guzman and AS Roma’s Kevin Strootman all miss out of the squad selection with injuries.

The Dutch are seven points clear in Group D and will qualify for Brazil if they win these next two games.

Oranje squad to play Estonia & Andorra in World Cup Qualifiers

Goalkeepers: Kenneth Vermeer (Ajax), Michel Vorm (Swansea City)

Defenders: Ricardo van Rhijn (Ajax), Ron Vlaar (Aston Villa), Daley Blind (Ajax), Jeffrey Bruma (PSV), Bruno Martins Indi (Feyenoord), Joris Mathijsen (Feyenoord), Karim Rekik (PSV), Paul Verhaegh (FC Augsburg), Stefan de Vrij (Feyenoord)

Midfielders: Jordy Clasie (Feyenoord), Marco van Ginkel (Chelsea), Rafael van der Vaart (HSV), Georginio Wijnaldum (PSV), Stijn Schaars (PSV).

Forwards: Dirk Kuyt (Fenerbahce), Jeremain Lens (Dynamo Kiev), Robin van Persie (Manchester United), Ruben Schaken (Feyenoord), Arjen Robben (Bayern Munich), Ricky van Wolfswinkel (Norwich City).



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Ronaldo spoils Dutch hopes


Cristiano Ronaldo saved Portugal from a defeat to the Oranje as he scored the an 87th minute equaliser in a 1-1 draw.

The Real Madrid winger’s late goal erupted the crowd at the Estadio Algarve on Wednesday night, and cancelled out Roma midfielder’s Kevin Strootman first-half opener.

Despite being stripped of the win, it was a good result for Louis Van Gaal’s side. Missing in action was Wesley Sneijder, who was recently stripped of the captaincy due to the coach’s concern over the Galatasaray man’s fitness.

Feyenoord defender Bruno Martins Indi was handed a start against the country of his birth, alongside a young defence of team-mate Stefan de Vrij, Ajax’s Daley Blind and Paul Verhaegh who plies his trade in Germany with Augsburg. Van Gaal started with a three man midfield of Strootman, Hamburg’s Rafael van der Vaart and PSV’s Georginio Wijnaldum. Up top, we saw the trio of Robin van Persie, Jeremain Lens and Arjen Robbin with goalkeeper Michel Vorm starting inbetween the sticks.

Portugal named a strong eleven, with Ronaldo leading the line alongside Danny and Helder Postiga and it was the Portuguese who created the first chance of the game inside the opening minutes. Ronaldo rose above everyone to nod a tame effort from a Ruben Amorim cross straight at Vorm.

The Oranje scored the opening goal on 17 minutes, new Dynamo Kiev winger Lens found his former PSV team-mate Strootman on the edge of the penalty box and he sent a low drive catching out goalkeeper Beto at his near post.

The hosts pressed for an equaliser and should have score on 29 minutes. Danny picked out Ruben Micael at the far post, only for the midfielder to direct his effort wide from ten yards.

In the second half, the Netherlands did little to trouble the Portuguese goal, and RVP, who was quiet throughout, found himself hauled off on the hour mark. In comparison, Ronaldo stole the show and was in a buoyant mood, and he was very nearly rewarded for his play after 63 minutes, hitting a long-range strike towards the goal, put Vorm saved well.

After midfielder Miguel Veloso hit the crossbar, it was Ronaldo again that came to the rescue. Three minutes to go, Dutch dreams of a win were crushed with Ronaldo finishing from close range colleting the ball from a deflected Veloso corner.


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Van Gaal tells Sneijder to shape up


Netherlands national team coach Louis van Gaal has once again stated that Dutch veteran Wesley Sneijder needs to “get in shape” before he is considered a recall to the Oranje squad.

20130601 - Louis van Gaal

Van Gaal backed up his decision to omit the Galatasaray midfielder from his initial squad for next week’s friendly against Portugal by also leaving him out of his trimmed party today.

Sneijder was immediately vocal on his dissatisfaction at Van Gaal’s decision last week in the media but the coach unmoved. In a press conference yesterday, he said: “He is not out of sight, but he must first get in shape. Then he will probably play with his qualities.”

Augsburg full-back Paul Verhaegh (pictured above) has been confirmed in the squad as he survived the cut to take his spot for the first time. Stijn Schaars and Georginio Wijnaldum, neither of whom were included by Van Gaal last week also join him.

PSV’s Adam Maher, Ajax pair Siem de Jong and Ricardo van Rhijn, and Feyenoord duo Jordy Clasie and Tonny Vilhena have dropped out for the clash in Faro next Wednesday.

Oranje squad to play Portugal on Wednesday 14th August

Goalkeepers: Jasper Cillessen (Ajax), Kenneth Vermeer (Ajax), Michel Vorm (Swansea City)

Defenders: Danny Blind (Ajax), Daryl Janmaat (Feyenoord), Bruno Martins Indi (Feyenoord), Joris Mathijsen (Feyenoord), Paul Verhaegh (Augsburg), Ron Vlaar (Feyenoord), Stefan de Vrij (Feyenoord)

Midfielders: Marco Van Ginkel (Chelsea), Jonathan De Guzman (Swansea City), Stijn Schaars (PSV Eindhoven), Ruben Schaken (Feyenoord), Kevin Strootman (AS Roma), Rafael van der Vaart (Hamburg), Georginio Wijnaldum (PSV Eindhoven)

Forwards: Klass-Jan Huntelaar (Schalke), Dirk Kuyt (Fenerbache), Jeremain Lens (Dynamo Kiev), Robin van Persie (Manchester United), Arjen Robben (Bayern Munich)



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