Netherlands cannot produce a good striker anymore – and that is a big problem – Football News

Netherlands cannot produce a good striker anymore – and that is a big problem

“It’s not very positive, really,” said Willem Vissers, a sports journalist for the respected Volkskrant newspaper. “There are not many people in Holland who think we are going to be successful.

“The most difficult thing is we do not have top attackers. We are famous in the world for our attacking players, from Cruyff to Kluivert, from Van Basten to Van Persie and Robben. They were some of the best in the world in their time and that is something we have lacked for a while.

“When we were successful in tournaments, we always had world-class strikers. Van Basten in 1988, Van Persie and Robben in 2014 and of course Cruyff in the 70s. And we don’t have them now, that is why Dutch people are not so enthusiastic at the moment.

“We don’t know why this is. If we knew we would fix it. Most people think it is to do with the coaching, that young players are not able to be as free anymore; that there are too many restrictions and it is always ‘move the ball, pass the ball, don’t dribble with the ball’. It is down to the youth departments, but we don’t know precisely.”

‘Good players but not great players’

Despite coming close in the 70s, inspired by Cruyff and the invention of Total Football – where players were comfortable on the ball in every position on the pitch – the Netherlands have won only one major tournament.

For those of us whose formative years coincided with that 1988 side of Frank Rijkaard, Ruud Gullit and the majestic Van Basten, who was the tournament’s top goalscorer, the Dutch have always been of fascination. The 1988 tournament was also held in Germany, but few are expecting history to repeat itself.

“We have a lot of very good defenders,” explained Vissers. “It is remarkable but we have six, maybe even eight central defenders who are really quite good.”

Vissers also talked up the strength of midfielders Tijjani Reijnders of AC Milan and Joey Veerman, although the late withdrawals from the squad by Frenkie de Jong and Teun Koopmeiners have damaged the group.

While 21-year-old goalkeeper Bart Verbruggen gets a namecheck, there is no avoiding the issues up front, where Depay’s form is a big talking point. Vissers added: “He always seems to be injured before tournaments and does not play as well as he can. It happened in the last Euros and at the World Cup in Qatar as well. It’s the same now, he has had a lot of small injuries.

“He has no rhythm. Koeman has said he has been looking very good and very sharp in training, but also admitted he has said that before and then he got injured again. If Depay is injured, we have a big problem. Brobbey is a big talent but he is only 22 and he also gets injured.

“We have Cody Gakpo, who had a very good season with Liverpool, but we do not have an Mbappe, a Kane or a Lewandowski. We don’t have a real top striker, someone who is in the top five in the world.

Source link: Netherlands cannot produce a good striker anymore – and that is a big problem