With the World Cup getting closer and closer, Michael Doodeman takes a look at who are the candidates to star in Netherlands defence.

  • By Michael Doodeman
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vlaar abLouis Van Gaal expects to bring a strong Dutch squad to Brazil this summer; however a team is only as strong as its weakest component. In the past and present, the Dutch have not been necessarily renowned for their defence.

There has been a plethora of world class Dutch stars playing in the midfield and attack, but not too many people remember the Dutch for their defensive stars. This is going to be an issue should Holland challenge for the title, as their defence will have to take on the attacking forces from countries like Spain, Brazil and Germany. So who are the best back four for the Oranje?

Right Back:

1st Choice-Daryl Janmaat- Age: 24 /Caps: 12 /Club: Feyenoord. The young defender has impressed in all of his international appearances, and has become Van Gaal’s first choice for right back. He’s an aggressive and energetic defender, who consistently attacks down the right flank, linking well with the likes of Robben, and can provide dangerous crosses. However, the Feyenoord right back has not really played against a world class winger yet for his country, but perhaps the upcoming friendlies will test his abilities a bit further.

Challenger: Gregory Van Der Wiel– Age: 25/Caps: 35/Club: PSG With an impressive start to the season playing with PSG, Van Der Wiel proves to be a real threat to Janmaat’s starting berth. At the young age of 25, Van Der Wiel has a wealth of experience at the international stage; he was a regular in the 2010 World Cup, making it to the finals. He also played all games in the Netherlands disastrous 2012 Euro campaign.

Center Backs:

1st Choice-Ron Vlaar-Age: 28/Caps: 19/Club: Aston Villa. & Bruno Martins-Indi-Age: 21/Caps: 12/Club: Feyenoord. The centre back duo has been varied by Van Gaal on several occasions; however the strongest duo may be Vlaar and Martins-Indi. Ron Vlaar is a leader on the field as he captains Aston Villa, and with his wealth of experience, he helps organize the back four for his club and country. Vlaar would add experience to the youthful back four, and he’s also proven himself with impressive performances with Villa and in the qualifying campaign. He’s a good distributor of the ball, and his strength and smarts allow him to handle his opposition wisely. Alongside Vlaar, the young and aggressive Martins-Indi would complete the duo. Martins-Indi is also a descent distributor of the ball; he also has great strength, aggressiveness and a high work rate, making it hard for attackers to get by him.

Challengers: Stefan De Vrij-Age: 21/Caps: 8/Club: Feyenoord Stefan De Vrij is also a leader on the field. He has great vision, height and aggression to challenge for a starting birth in the Dutch XI. Jeffrey Bruma-Age: 21/Caps: 7/Club PSV Bruma has also made his mark on the national team. He also has strength and aggression to deal with the attacking opposition and his aerial and shooting abilities have caught the attention of many.

Left Back:

1st Choice-Daley Blind-Age: 23/Caps: 6/Club: Ajax. The left back position will certainly be prominent at next year’s world cup. Daley Blind has won a starting position in Holland’s last few games. Blind is more of an attacking minded left back, as Ajax has even opted to playing him as winger on some occasions. He may be Holland’s best left back, as his crisp passing links him and others well down the left flank. However his defensive abilities have been questionable in the past, but the other option Jetro Willems also displays a more impressive attacking game then defensive.

Challengers: Jetro Willems-Age: 19/Caps: 10/Club: PSV Willems has the edge on Blind in terms of experience. He played in all three games in the 2012 Euro campaign for the Dutch and also has seven addition caps to his name. Willems is a very good attacking player; he’s not afraid to make runs with ball down the flank or directly to the net if an opportunity arises. He and Blind are sort of similar left backs as they both look to attack and could improve the defensive qualities.

John Heitinga-Age: 29/Caps: 87/Club: Everton. Unfortunately for Johnny Heitinga, he hasn’t had much playing time since he won the Everton player of the season (2011-2012). If Heitinga can rack up some more playing time and find his form again, he can most definitely make his way back into the Dutch squad, as he has proven to be a world class defender in the past.

Ricardo Van Rhijn-Age: 22/Caps: 7/Club: Ajax. Van Rhijn can also prove to be a legitimate contender for the right back position. He has a confirmed starting role for Ajax, and is a very promising young defender.

Michael Doodeman (12 Posts)