Since reaching the final of the 2010 World Cup, the Netherlands have been on a downward trajectory. This was evident at the 2012 Euros when they finished bottom of their group and again when they failed to qualify for this Summers competition. Even though they reached the semi-final of the 2014 World Cup, this success masked over the underlying problems. It was more the management of Louis van Gaal and the system that he installed rather than the players that attributed to their success in Brazil.
The Dutch are now in a transitional stage. The old guard of Robin van Persie, Nigel de Jong and Rafael van der Vaart were omitted from the recent squad to face France and England. Wesley Sneijder, Kevin Strootman and Arjen Robben were absent through injury. In their place were several younger players that have been handed their chance, one of which is AZ Alkmaar’s Vincent Janssen.
Janssen made his debut for the Oranje as an 82nd minute substitute against France, where he replaced goal scorer Luuk de Jong. He was given his full debut in their subsequent game against England at Wembley. The 21-year-old scored from the spot after 50 minutes and also set up the winning goal in the 77th minute.
The 21-year-old has now scored 27 goals in all competitions so far this season and he is one of the hottest names in the Eredivisie. Janssen is currently the leagues leading goal scorer with 21 goals and that is an impressive feat in his debut season at the top level.
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Prior to joining AZ last Summer, Janssen spent two seasons at Almere City, after he was released by Dutch giants Feyenoord in the Summer of 2013. In his debut season for Almere City he scored 10 goals and this was followed by 19 last season.
His goal scoring form has not only caught the attention of the Netherlands manager, Danny Blind, but also that of PSG, Everton and Manchester United, who have all recently sent scouts to watch him in action against PSV. This has come as now surprise as the press in the Netherlands are going crazy for him and they have compared him to former Oranje and Manchester United striker, Ruud van Nistelrooy.
The comparisons with Ruud van Nistelrooy are understandable.
“Janssen has all the right skills for centre-forward.” His former manager at Almere City, Fred Grim, stated. “He keeps the ball well with his back to the goal. He knows how to position himself. He is quick and makes the right movements. He works hard without the ball and puts a lot of pressure on the defenders.”
“Importantly, he is two footed, which makes his moves in the penalty area difficult to predict – he can go right, and he can go left. A lot of strikers can only shoot with one foot, and they are much easier to mark. Vincent has the right mentality. He is always willing to learn, very open and dedicated. He is an easy player to coach, because he always listens.”
Voetbal International’s, Tasco van den Velde, worte that “Vincent Janssen has given Holland hope again.” This is understandable as the Dutch want a new generation to take over and make their national team great again.
If Vincent Janssen continues with his current development and chooses his next move wisely (as there are a number of clubs queuing to sign him this Summer), then there is every chance that he can become a regular at international level and be part of the new Oranje generation for years to come.