Liverpool Target Luuk De Jong And 22 Other Under-23s To Make Holland Great Again

Don't give up on Holland's Oranje just yet. The Netherlands is still a hotbed of young football talent such as Liverpool target Luuk de Jong and these other 22 youngsters.
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Don't give up on Holland's Oranje just yet. The Netherlands is still a hotbed of young football talent such as Liverpool target Luuk de Jong and these other 22 youngsters.

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Liverpool Target Luuk De Jong And 22 Other Under-23s To Make Holland Great Again 

The Netherlands is sometimes referred to as 'the land of 16 million national coaches' and you'll struggle to find a Dutch football fan who doesn't have a view on who should be the next man in charge following Bert van Marwijk's departure.

Despite signing a new contract in December 2011, that was meant to run through until the next European Championship in 2016, Bert van Marwijk found himself under incredible scrutiny.

To a degree it's understandable too, having presided over The Netherlands first group stage failure at a European Championship since they won the tournament in 1988, despite having an experienced squad of players, many of whom had reached the World Cup Final two years prior.

The Eredivisie remains a very entertaining league and one ideal in standard for the development of young, Dutch talent

Some are relieved van Marwijk has gone, yet others accuse senior players of being the problem - indeed the international futures of star names like Heitinga, van der Vaart and Huntelaar are also currently being debated in the Dutch media.

Such speculation is to be expected after such a high-profile failure, but speaking as an outsider I'd urge The Netherlands not to throw the baby out with the bath-water here - despite the obvious problems there's also lots to be positive about.

It's easy to forget that van Marwijk had only lost two competitive matches in almost four years in charge before Euro 2012 and one of those defeats was a World Cup Final!

Much of the English debate is focused on the development of young players, something the Netherlands are light-years ahead on at grass-roots level.

The Eredivisie remains a very entertaining league and one ideal in standard for the development of young, Dutch talent - a level of competition just below that of elite league's like the Premier League, La Liga, Serie 'A' and Bundesliga, it's often seen as a breeding ground for those competitions.

Whilst that might make it difficult for Dutch clubs to challenge for top European honours, this is a huge plus for the national team - it's arguable that promising Dutch footballers are much more likely to get the opportunity of regular first-team football in their nation's elite league, than those from England for instance.

As another country currently undergoing a Euro 2012 post-mortem, much of the English debate is focused on the development of young players, something the Netherlands are light-years ahead on at grass-roots level.

The Netherlands has the coaching ideas, principles, foresight and facilities to rival any nation in the world

Matches with fewer players, on smaller pitches with more age-appropriate sized goals will become compulsory in England from the start of the 2014/15 season - a snap-shot of some long-overdue changes that are to be very much welcomed, but they're nothing new to the Dutch.

The Netherlands has the coaching ideas, principles, foresight and facilities to rival any nation in the world, emphasised by the fact that so many seek to imitate their way of doing things in the hope of developing a similar conveyor belt of talent.

Below are the names of twenty-three players, all aged twenty-three or under, who've already come through the famous Dutch youth system and could make an impression between now and UEFA Euro 2016 - four of them were part of Bert van Marwijk's squad for Euro 2012, but only Jetro Willems featured at the tournament.

Goalkeepers

Jasper Cillessen (Ajax) Jeroen Zoet (RKC Waalwijk - loan PSV) Erwin Mulder (Feyenoord)

Defenders

Jeffrey Gouweleeuw (Heerenveen) Stefan de Vrij (Feyenoord) Jeffrey Bruma (Hamburger SV - loan Chelsea) Jetro Willems (PSV) Bram Nuytinck (NEC) Patrick van Aanholt (Chelsea) Nick Viergever (AZ) Ruben Ligeon (Ajax)

Midfielders

Kevin Strootman (PSV) Adam Maher (AZ) Georginio Wijnaldum (PSV) Luciano Narsingh (Heerenveen) Jordy Clasie (Feyenoord) Ola John (Benfica) Siem de Jong (Ajax) Alexander Buttner (Vitesse)

Forwards

Luuk de Jong (Twente) Davy Klaassen (Ajax) Bas Dost (Wolfsburg) Rick ten Voorde (RKC Waalwijk - loan NEC)

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