James Rowe spoke with Arsenal Ladies and Dutch national team midfielder Daniëlle van de Donk. They spoke about her career in the Netherlands, her transfer to Arsenal Ladies and of course winning Euro 2017 in the Netherlands last summer.

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Below is a transcript of the interview

JR: ”Can I start by asking for your reaction to the recent World Cup qualifying games against Slovakia and Republic of Ireland?”

DvdD: ”I have mixed feeling about the internationals that we played due to the fact that we won one and drew one. But I believe that it should have been two victories. It’s a shame that in a sold out stadium in the Netherlands at home to Republic of Ireland in Nijmegen that we could not score and get the win. The 0-0 draw felt like a defeat. We play them again during the qualifying campaign so that gives us a chance to put things right.”

JR: ”You started out a Willem II Ladies in 2008. How do you look back on your time in Tilburg? ”

DvdD: ”I really enjoyed my time at Willem II Ladies. I was only 16 years old when I arrived at the club. Edwin Petersen was my manager and I got on really well with him. I remember having to train a lot and play games all over the Netherlands. We had a good team as well and we managed to fight for the league title too.”

JR: ”After Willem II Ladies you went on to play for VVV Venlo Ladies. I was in Venlo back in August to interview manager Maurice Steijn. I got the feeling it is a very warm club. How do you look back in your time at VVV Venlo?”

DvdD: ”My team at VVV Venlo Ladies was special. I was also made captain. My teammates were also around the same age as me. We were a very close group and that is what I think about when I talk about my time at VVV Venlo Ladies. I really enjoyed the responsibility of being captain I was only 19 at the time. It made me conscious of what I did on the field and I really wanted to help my teammates. The role of captain made me more responsible.”

JR: ”You also played abroad in Sweden for Kopparbergs/Goteborg. How do you look back on your first experience abroad? ”

DvdD: ”I had options to go to different countries when the transfer came up. My agent played a role. At Goteborg there were already Dutch players Loes Geurts and Lieke Martens. It was nice as I was not the only Dutch player in the squad and they helped me settle quickly. One thing I thought was strange that was the lack of rest we would get before games. Sometimes we would leave for games in the morning and play the same day and that had an effect on my body. Although I had a great time in Sweden.”

JR: ”In 2015 you transferred to Arsenal Ladies. Are you enjoying your time in England? How are you finding the English league?”

DvdD: ”I am really enjoying myself at Arsenal. Our training facilities are fantastic. Arsenal is the best club that I have been at in my career so far. The League is very physical. The level is also higher than the Netherlands and Sweden. I have been able to develop at the club and I have found my place in London. We have a new manager in Joe Montemurro who previously managed Melbourne City. I have only been training under him for a week but he has managed to create a good atmosphere in the squad. I also got on really well with the previous manager Pedro Loza too. He gave my a lot of belief in my own ability.”

JR: ”You were part of the Dutch national Ladies team that won Euro 2017 on home soil. How do you look back on the triumph? ”

DvdD: ”The realization that we won Euro 2017 came a few weeks later after the tournament. I was so happy that we won. I remember after the final whistle in the final against Denmark some of my teammates were so overcome with emotion that they did not know what to do running in all directions. I was so proud of everybody involved. It was also a little bit mad as we had never been in that situation before. For me the most difficult games were against Denmark and Belgium in the group phase. From then on we managed to find a flow and go on to perform well in the later stages of the tournament.”

JR: ”What type of manager is your current national team boss Sarina Wiegman? ”

DvdD: ”Sarina Wiegman is really good at creating ties between players. She also analyses the opponent so well that we as a squad end up seeing only chances to achieve success in games we play. We are now no longer focussing on what an opponent does but on what we do”

JR: ”Could you say who the best player that you have played with? ”

DvdD: ”Lieke Martens is one of the best players that I have played with in the Dutch national team. Also at current club level, Fara Williams at Arsenal Ladies is a great midfielder.”

JR: ”Who is the most difficult opponent you have faced? ”

DvdD: ”Lucy Bronze who plays for England and Olympique Lyon is in an attacking a defending sense one of the best players in Europe today. Also Danish international Nadia Nadim is an excellent player.”

JR: ”Finally who is the best manager that you have played under?”

DvdD: ”It’s difficult to say as I am still young and I still have a long way to go in my career. You learn something from every manager. If I had to say somebody I would say my father. He helped me a lot by coming to watch me and was often critical but he would always tell me what I did well in games and would give my tips in order to improve. He would help me train with free kicks during my youth. My father was a very good indoor footballer and very skilful and I have a lot to thank him for.”

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