Danny Blind’s Netherlands selection for the ties with Bulgaria and Italy have once again raised some eyebrows among Oranje supporters. Michael Bell looks at some of the key questions surrounding the squad.
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One of the strangest decisions by Blind is the inclusion of Ajax right-back Kenny Tete who has found himself rooted to the bench for most of this season, with Joel Veltman preferred by Peter Bosz. There is no doubt that Tete is a talented full-back, but with Veltman and Karsdorp in the squad, why was he picked instead of a second left-back?
Daley Blind is the only recognised left-back in the squad, with Jetro Willems and Terence Kongolo not selected, while Blind continues to ignore Premier League regulars Erik Pieters and Patrick van Aanholt.
Surely selecting another recognised left-back makes more sense than trusting Nick Viergever or Bruno Martins-Indi in the position, should Blind get injured?
It’s great to see Matthijs de Ligt given a call-up at the age of 17, but does the Ajax youngster really warrant his place in the squad?
De Ligt has only played a handful of first-team games for Ajax and although he has been more than impressive, Blind had other options for the centre-back spot. Jan-Arie van der Heijden can make a shout for a call-up given his form for league leaders Feyenoord this season, but another man who has been ignored is Nathan Ake.
Ake had an outstanding start to the season for Bournemouth and was arguably one of the Premier League’s top defenders. However, he seems to have been ignored after his loan was cut short and he returned to Chelsea. Ake could have added more experience than De Ligt and offered back-up to the left-back slot.
Netherlands face a tricky and must win tie in Bulgaria but Blind doesn’t think he needs a defensive midfielder in his squad. Oranje are well known to struggle for cover in front of their defence, but Blind has decided not to call-up Maarten de Roon, who has done well at Middlesbrough, while Jordy Clasie and Riechedly Bazoer have also been overlooked.
It appears that Blind will go with three from Davy Klaassen, Wesley Sneijder, Georginio Wijnaldum and Kevin Strootman, with one of those expected to drop deep which is not their usual style.
Last season PSV lifted their second straight Eredivisie title and the Netherlands squad was littered with players from the Eindhoven club. However, Blind’s latest squad highlights just how poorly PSV are performing in this campaign with only one of their players, Jeroen Zoet, selected.
That means recent call-ups Davy Propper, Jetro Willems, Siem de Jong, Luuk de Jong, Marco van Ginkel, and Joshua Brenet have all been overlooked by Blind.
Most of those decisions can be justified, except possibly Davy Propper, who has been one of the star performers for PSV this season.
One of the biggest issues the Dutch side currently face is who will start between the posts against Bulgaria. Jasper Cillessen and Michel Vorm have both been called-up despite the fact they are second choice at their clubs and have only played a handful of games between them this season.
That leaves PSV number one Jeroen Zoet as the logical choice to start between the posts, but he has yet to convince in an Oranje shirt and hasn’t looked as convincing for his club during this campaign. He made headlines all over Europe after his error in the defeat to Feyenoord which all but ended their title chances.
Blind has constantly rotated the number one shirt recently with Cillessen, Zoet and Maarten Stekelenburg all swapping it in recent games. Who will he choose on the 25th of March?
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