Branco van den Boomen is making a big impression in France and he may be the man that can add creativity to the Netherlands midfield.

  • By Michael Bell
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Ronald Koeman is returning as Netherlands head coach and he has confirmed that Oranje will once again play with a 4-3-3, ditching the five-man defence that Frank de Boer and Louis van Gaal favoured.

Frenkie de Jong is a guaranteed starter in the midfield, while Marten de Roon and Teun Koopmeiners will battle for the spot next to him. However, the third spot is completely up for grabs and Koeman will be looking for someone with the quality to create and score goals, which the Netherlands haven’t really had since Wesley Sneijder retired.

Georginio Wijnaldum has 26 goals to his name in Oranje, but it remains to be seen how he fares after returning from injury and his form has been hit-and-miss since he departed Liverpool. He has also been used in a deeper position in recent years, rather than as an attacking midfielder. He is also not much of a creator, with only nine assists in 86 caps.

If you look at the midfielders that went to the World Cup, Davy Klaassen (10) is the only one that has 10 or more goals to his name. Frenkie de Jong has two, as does Steven Berghuis, while Koopmeiners has one and De Roon none. Kenneth Taylor (0), Guus Til (1), Ryan Gravenberch (1), and Jordy Clasie (0) are not exactly creative, goalscoring midfielder’s either. In terms of assists, Berghuis is the only one with more than ten (14) but most of those came with him playing on the wing.

PSV Eindhoven wonderkid Xavi Simons is possibly the long-term answer but at the moment he could be deployed on the right wing, so for the moment, Koeman may turn to France for the answer.

Toulouse was promoted to Ligue 1 last season and they are comfortably mid-table so far with three Dutchmen shining in their squad. Stijn Spierings and Thijs Dallinga are impressive, but the main man is undoubtedly Branco van den Boomen.

After failing to break into the Ajax first team, Van den Boomen had spells with FC Eindhoven, Heerenveen, Willem II, and De Graafschap before moving to France in 2020. In Ligue 2, Van den Boomen found his form and he engineered their promotion last season with a league record of 21 assists, while also netting 12 goals.

He has also handled the step up to the top flight perfectly and he has five goals and seven assists in the league this season. Only Sergej Milinković-Savić of Lazio has registered more assists (8) from midfield in a top-five league this season. However, no player in those top five leagues has played more progressive passes than the Dutchman too, according to StatmanDave on Twitter.

SofaScore has also given Van den Boomen an average rating of 7.70 so far this season, making him the second best player in Ligue 1, behind a certain Lionel Messi.

Van den Boomen is a creator and a set-piece expert, two things that the Netherlands crave in the midfield and he is also an excellent penalty taker. His addition to the Oranje squad at this point seems a no-brainer if he continues this form heading into March.

The 27-year-old is also going to start a transfer scramble in the summer as his contract at Toulouse is up and top clubs around Europe are circling. That interest will only intensify if Van den Boomen gets the Netherlands call-up he deserves.

He has been a late bloomer, but Van den Boomen is exploding on the scene and he could be the man to take the Netherlands national team to the next level.




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