After their dismal Euro 2012 campaign, the Netherlands have hired a new manager and begun rejuvenating their ageing squad. Here are eleven players Louis van Gaal should consider calling up to the national team squad. With three World Cup second places to their name, perhaps these players could make a fourth final and maybe even win one.
GK: Jeroen Zoet (RKC Waalkwijk)
Zoet is currently the U-21 Netherlands team first choice keeper. After spending time in the PSV youth system, Zoet is now on loan to RKC Waalkwijk. In his early twenties, Zoet is a perfect age to replace current Dutch keeper Maarten Stekelenburg.
DF: Ricardo van Rhijn (Ajax)
With Gregory van der Wiel leaving Ajax for PSG, van Rhijn proved to be a perfect replacement at club level. And the next few years may see van Rhijn replacing van der Wiel in the national team as well. Much like his former team mate, van Rhijn has an excellent work rate that frequently sees him further up the pitch assisting in the attack.
DF: Jeffrey Bruma (Hamburg)
Born in Rotterdam, Brum began his youth career at local side Feyenoord before transferring to the Chelsea youth team. With spells at Leicester City and Hamburg, Bruma has the potential to be a great centre-back in the English Premier League, and could perhaps replace Everton’s Johnny Heitingha in the national team.
DF: Jetro Willems (PSV)
The youngest Dutch defender to play in UEFA competition became a transfer target for Sir Alex when looking for the next Patrice Evra. When injuries hit PSV, Willems was thrown into the first team without much experience but has proven to be one of the best defenders currently playing in the Eredivisie.
DF: Vurnon Anita (Newcastle United)
Before transferring to Newcastle, Anita was a key player in the Ajax side that one back-to-back Eredivisie titles. Like all good Dutch footballer, Anita has proven himself highly capable of playing in a variety of positions in defence and midfield.
DM: Jordy Clasie (Feyenoord)
With the current holding-midfielders in the national team being Nigel ‘dangerous’ de Jong and Rafael ‘lazy’ van der Vaart, Holland is in desperate need of a new CDM. Since returning to Feyenoord on loan from Excelsior in 2011, Clasie has become a fan favourite and has earned the nick name of the Dutch Xavi.
CM: Kevin Strootman (PSV)
Strootman’s great on-the-ball vision has also seen him earn a number of national team call-ups under former manager Bert van Marwijk. Van Gaal will hopefully consider using PSV’s play-maker in the national team under his management too.
CM: Adam Maher (AZ)
The 2010-11 Dutch Young Player of the Year has already been linked with moves to some great clubs such as Barcelona and AC Milan. With three seasons at AZ Alkmaar, Maher has shown himself to be great at assisting and even better at scoring goals.
WG: Georginio Wijnaldum (PSV)
After five years at Feyenoord, Wijnaldum transferred to title contenders PSV in 2011. With great skill and a brilliant football mind, Wijnaldum is the youngest player to ever play for Feyenoord in a professional match. He is also capable of playing as a central play-maker.
WG: Ola John (Benfica)
With 22 assists in the 2011-12 season with FC Twente, Ola John came to the attention of Benfica’s management, and signed with them at the start of the 2013 season. With injury prone winger Arjen Robben, both Wijnaldum and John could be great replacements in the Dutch national team.
ST: Luuk de Jong (Borussia Monchengladbach)
With his older brother playing at Ajax, Luuk de Jong made his name famous during his time at FC Twente. With 32 goals in the 2011-12 season he was snapped up by Bundesliga team Borussia Monchengladbach. If de Jong can make a habit of scoring goals for the national team there is no doubt he could replace van Persie, who frequently struggles in front of goal in the orange jersey.