We continue to profile the Netherlands 23 man squad for the World Cup this summer by taking a look at the midfielders chosen by Louis van Gaal.

  • By Michael Bell
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de jong and sneiNetherlands will be without two of their best midfielders in Brazil after Kevin Strootman and Rafael Van der Vaart were ruled out through injury. However the Dutch midfield is still packed with a mixture of young talent and experience, and on form its a match for most nations at the World Cup.

Who are Netherlands six midfielders at the World Cup? Profiles below

sneijder asbWesley Sneijder

Age-29 Club-Galatasaray Caps-98

The big question surrounding Sneijder is whether or not he can get back into the form which saw him inspire Netherlands to the World Cup final four years ago?

Sneijder was in his prime at the time as he dictated play all over the pitch, but since the tournament in South Africa, his career has entered a slump.

In the past year, Sneijder was stripped from the captaincy by Louis van Gaal and openly criticized in the media for not being fit enough.

These jibes seem to have inspired Sneijder, and his end of season form in Turkey proved that he was on his way back to form. In Brazil, Sneijder will play as a roaming number ten, just behind Robin van Persie and Arjen Robben.

The recent friendly over Ghana showed that the trio could make an impact going forward and they will be key if Netherlands are to make it out of the group stages.

If 2010 Sneijder makes a re-appearance, dont write off Netherlands chances.

Strength– On his day he is one of the best passers in World football.

Weakness– In the Brazil heat, his stamina may let him down.

de jong nigelNigel de Jong

Age-29 Club-AC Milan Caps-70

The words Nigel de Jong and World Cup bring up one image for most football fans, the Kung-Fu kick on Xabi Alonso in the final defeat to Spain four years ago. However De Jong played a hugely important role before the final, as his guarding of the back four allowed Wesley Sneijder to work his magic going forward.

It will be the same story in Brazil as De Jong will sit in front of the three central defenders, and be tasked with winning the ball back in the middle of the pitch. The AC Milan midfielder will be key in allowing the two wing backs to bomb forward at every opportunity.

A tough tackler, De Jong on his day is one of the best defensive midfielders in the world, and will be needed to stop Spain in the opening game, and then quell the danger of Chile’s Arturo Vidal.

Strength– Tackling

Weakness– Sometimes those tackles can go over the top

clasie bJordy Clasie

Age-22 Club-Feyenoord Caps-8

One of Netherlands brightest young talents, who will be a key member of Netherlands midfield for many years to come, but may have to settle for a bit part role in Brazil.

For Feyenoord, Clasie sits in front of the back four and shows a ferocious desire to win the ball, while he also dictates the play with excellent passing ability.

Nicknamed the Dutch Xavi, Clasie showed his ability in the recent 1-1 draw with Ecuador as he spread a 40-yard-pass over the top of the defence for Robin van Persie to volley into the net.

However Clasie is not a goal scoring midfielder, as stats showed that during last season, the midfielder had the worst shot from distance to goal ratio in the Eredivisie. He scored once last season.

Strength– Passing

Weakness– Shooting

Fer aLeroy Fer

Age-24 Club-Norwich City Caps-5

A lot was expected of Leroy Fer when he broke into the Feyenoord first team, and after his move to Twente, but the midfielder has never really lived up to his potential.

A tall box to box midfielder, Fer likes to make tackles at one end before steaming to the other side of the pitch to try and get into the penalty box. The 24-year-old had good goal-scoring records in the Eredivisie, netting 16 in 124 games for Feyenoord, and then 21 in 77 matches for Twente.

His move to Norwich last summer was seen as a good deal for the Premier League club, but the season ended in disaster with the side being relegated. Leroy Fer started well at the club, but as the season went on he struggled to assert himself in the Premier League.

With Kevin Strootman out of the midfield, Fer would be a good option for the box to box role in Brazil, while he could also play as DM should De Jong get injured.

Strength– Has a lot of energy. Can burst up and down the pitch

Weakness– Can commit a lot of fouls

de guzman aJonathan de Guzman

Age-26 Club-Swansea City Caps-10

With Strootman missing the World Cup, the role of box-to-box midfielder seems set to be given to De Guzman, with the Swansea midfielder starting, and impressing, alongside Nigel de Jong against Ghana in the recent friendly.

De Guzman is an excellent passer of the ball, and will be a useful link between the defence and the attack, while he is also a brilliant set piece taker, although that job will be given to Sneijder.

Van Gaal was the man who gave De Guzman his debut in the national team in February last year, and the coach clearly has faith that the Swansea man can have an impact in Brazil.

The 26-year-old needs to add more goals to his role though, as he is likely to get a few chances in and around the box, Netherlands will need him to be more clinical with his finishing.

Strength- Passing and set pieces.

Weakness- Finishing, should score more goals for his role

wijnaldum 12Georginio Wijnaldum

Age-23 Club-PSV Caps-4

Its quite remarkable that Wijnaldum is in the squad after spending most of the season out with back problems, limiting him to only 15 appearances for PSV. However the midfielder impressed in the number 10 role in the friendly draw with Ecuador earlier this month, and with Rafael van der Vaart injured, Wijnaldum will be back up to Sneijder.

Wijnaldum is one of the best number 10’s in the Eredivisie, combining great dribbling skills with an expert eye for a pass, and a lethal finish in the box. It was no coincidence that after his injury PSV’s great form in the early part of the season slumped, and they eventually dwindled out the title race.

Should Wijnaldum get the chance, he could prove to be an excellent alternative to Sneijder.

Strength- Link up play around the box

Weakness- Has spent a lot of the season out, his match fitness may not be as sharp as others.

 




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