Netherlands may have been knocked out in the Semi finals, but there was some great performances along the way, we take a look at the top 5 performers.
- By Michael Bell
- Follow @Football_Oranje on Twitter
5. Marco van Ginkel
Vitesse midfielder was asked to play a more defensive role for his country in the two opening games against Germany, and Russia, having to track Lewis Holtby, and Alan Dzagoev. He did a fantastic job in both games, justifying his selection ahead of Jordy Clasie, also moving forward to join the attack. In the semi final, Van Ginkel was unleashed into a more forward position, but surprisingly didn’t have the same effect, and Netherlands ended up losing.
His performances have seen him linked with moves to Chelsea, and Manchester United, and the summer ahead appears to be a busy one for the youngster.
4. Georginio Wijnaldum
Pre-tournament Wijnaldum was seen as a weak link in the starting XI with many feeling the PSV man plays better in the centre, rather than out wide on the right. However scored in first two matches against Germany, and Russia, with two brilliant long range efforts.
Constantly a threat down the right wing, Wijnaldum used his excellent dribbling skills to weave away from his markers, and set up chances. His performance against Italy was one of the bright sparks in the defeat, but sadly the end product evident in the first two matches was not seen.
3. Bruno Martins-Indi
Solid as a rock in all three matches the Feyenoord defender played, Martins-Indi was hardly troubled by any attacker he came up against. Sadly he was often let down by his playing partner, whether it be Stefan de Vrij or Mike van der Hoorn, when the Netherlands did concede.
It is amazing to think that Feyenoord manager Ronald Koeman still thinks that his best position is at left back, but Martins Indi is in the middle for Louis van Gaals senior side. Should be a guaranteed starter for next summers World Cup, and his performances here at the U21 Euros has cemented his position as one of the best young defenders in Europe.
2. Kevin Strootman
Captain fantastic for Netherlands, the PSV enforcer was the link between defence and attack for the Oranje. Always composed on the ball, Strootman hardly put a foot wrong the whole tournament.
Saved his best game for the defeat against Italy, where he bossed the midfield, not giving Italian wonderkid Marco Verratti a moment of peace. Undeservedly on the losing side, but Strootman furthered his credentials to be a future captain of the senior side.
After a disappointing campaign with PSV Strootman may be in line for a move to Napoli, or Manchester United this summer, as he looks to take his game to the next level ahead of next summers World Cup
1. Adam Maher
Going into the tournament, the AZ Alkmaar midfielder was many people’s tip for one to watch, and the 19 year old didn’t disappoint. Scored a great opener in the game against Germany, to get his side going, whilst he was at the hub of everything good in the 5-1 win over Russia. It was the tackle on Maher that also saw Russia get sent down to 10 men.
With Netherlands losing 2-0 to Spain in the final group game, Maher came on, and immediately their was a lift in their play, with the 19 year old forcing David de Gea into a wonderful save late on.
Lively as ever in the defeat to Italy, hitting the post with a brilliant free kick, and should of had a penalty when he was man handled in the box.
A move to Ajax or PSV looms this summer, with the chance to play Champions League football next season key from taking Maher from a talent to a top midfielder. By the time next summer’s World Cup comes around, Maher will be the one to watch for the senior side.