* Soccer prospects rankings by leagues *
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06-06-2005, 03:39 PM
Join Date: Apr 2002
Figured I'd come up with an update as well. It will be much like Belgians' in terms of how their season went, progession being made, their upside and what can we expect. Like Belgians' I also excluded the 82 born..
The number between brackets is where I had them on the original list from july 2004.
The Dutch squad under 17 is said to be our next best generation, they lost the finals vs Turkey during last month's EK. Naturally, these players are too young (15/16) to appear on this list, but it's worth noting none-the-less. I've added quotes of what others are saying about some of the players who will be taking part in the upcoming World Cup this week in the Netherlands, not all, but some (Babel, Maduro, John, Vlaar, Quincey, Efellay will are star during next week's WC under 20 from these 15. There will be more in the next 10)..
Here are the first 15, I will add 10 more within the next few days, creating a list of 25, added with Honorable Mention's and cutt off's.
Arjen Robben - Dutch - 1984 - Winger - Chelsea - (2)
Well his first year in England should definitely be considered a succes, even though Robben himself thought it was the worst year of his short career so far. Somewhat understandable considering he was bothered by nagging injuries that kept him out of the line-up during crucial games, but still, he was EPL's top player in November (as awarded) before his first injury struck him. In the end, Arjen Robben earned some heavty praises after contributing with 7 goals and 9 assists in 18 games as a 20/21 year old. Coach Morinho was even quoted as saying how he thought Robben was his team's best player. Even though Robben played in only half of the games, he still finished runner up to Wayne Rooney in talent of the year and is a finalist for world wide talent of the year with the same Rooney and with Spain's Fernando Torres. I'm a firm believer Arjen would've been the favorite if not for injuries.
: A fast dribbler who's hard to knock off the ball, always seems to be in control of the ball and gets by oppenents with ease. Not because of his technique, but because of his fast handlings and offensive awareness. Superb cross and is an even better finisher for a man his position. Can get to the corners for the cross or cutt inside for the shot. Feisty and emotional player, he's becoming a complete package for his position.
: Arjen Robben already is the best winger in the world of soccer today. He was phenomenal as a 19 year old at the EC and has delivered for his club in both the season as well as CL. Arjen Robben has superstar potential and if he can avoid or at least slim down on the injuries, Arjen Robben will definitely become a top 10 player in the world some day, and that day might come as early next year.
Rafael van der Vaart - Dutch - 1983 - Attacking Midlfielder - Ajax/HSV Hamburg - (01)
Rafael van der Vaart has been an easy target the past 2 years. He's had a difficult time proving himself to the media, the crowd and to his coach, nothing seemed to work. In those 2 years, Ajax changed styles, changed coaches, and changed players. So blaming Rafael entirely for not progressing further isn't all that fair, as Ajax's has had a pretty big share in Rafael's poor seasons in 2004 and 2005 as well. Then there was his marriage That said, going to Hamburg might prove to be an excellent move, he needed a fresh start. As the "Biggest talent to come out of Holland since Marco van Basten", Rafael will have a good oppertunity to play himself into the spotlights again. He seems very passionate as of late..
: Reads plays extremely well. A highly gifted and versatile player who can play on all midfield positions as well as striker. Ultimate position will always be #10 as the "shadow striker".. Worked hard on his defensive abilities the past two years, dangerous playmaker and can finish on every way possible. His creativity is something special. Agressive defensively..
: After how Rafael played after Blind arrived, there's no reason not to believe why Rafael won't return to 2002 form and continue that pace in the near future. People forget he's only 21/22, and that he scored 18 goals and added 9 assists for 27 points in 21 games as a *midfielder* when he was 19/20 years old and guided Ajax to the CL QF's. I expect him to bounce back nicely in the Bundes Liga, maybe not instantly, but definitely within a year or 2 two. Rafael has world class potential and might very well become the best at his position someday, his upside is that high. He and Kaka were always mentioned in the same breath until Rafael's down year. But he has a lot to prove, I've definitely been very generous placing him at #2 but his upside is simply immense, and too big to pass up.
Robin van Persie - Dutch - 1983 - Attacking Midlfielder - Arsenal - (5)
As quoted from the original write up;
Arguably the most talented one out of all the ones mentioned here in this post. He can become a world class player strictly based on his skillset. He has a crazy technique, he is fast, is a superb playmaker and on top of it, has a deadly free kick.. Robin has the potential to lead this list but he just hasn't proven as much as those standing above him. This is mainly due to the fact Robin and his (former) coach, Bert van Marwijk, never got along. He never got much playing time, but whenever he did, he just oozed with potential and despite his off-the-pitch problems, was a fan favorite. Robin van Persie is very simular to Christiano Ronaldo in a lot of ways, only where Christiano tends to go back and to deke his opponent out once more, van Persie seems to be more effective. Some question his physical shape because he rarely played (injuries, in the doghouse), so leaving to an English Premier Club (Arsenal), one of many that wanted his services, in a league that relies more on conditioning and physical strenght than anywhere else, could make or break his early years there.
If he indeed develops those aspects, Robin could very well find himself passing up a few spots on this list
, but untill then, he's still too unproven to be mentioned between those above him
Arsene Wenger's child has had a very solid first year in the Premier League. He made his presence known and proved himself he belongs in the short stints to earn himself a lot more playing time. 5 Goals and 5 assists in 27 games of limited action should be considered a succes. Robin displayed a high area of skills and is maturing a lot. However, Robin might have been a tad too egocentric when he's nearing the box. Completely understandable considering he's young and wants to prove himself though.
: A highly talented offensive midfielder, Robin van Persie is actually a nice mix between Arjen Robben and Rafael van der Vaart, he has speed, he makes quick decisions, is highly skilled, a dangerous playmaker and an underrated finisher. One of his best assests are also his free kicks. Also a versatile player, can attack from both wing positions.
: He's making it very hard for Wenger to keep him out of the starting eleven. The only reason he's not as much on the pitch as he should be is because of Dennis Bergkamp, expect Robin's minutes to increase next year, but watch him develop into a major contributor for Arsenal in 2006/2007 when Bergkamp retires. He's also pushing hard to earn a spot amongst the Dutch starting eleven. Last year I had some doubts as of whether Robin could ever make the step to superstardom, right now however, I have all the faith in the world Robin van Persie will become a star known worldwide and be amongst the best in what he does someday.
Ryan Babel - Dutch - 1986 - Striker/Winger - Ajax - (NR)
Ryan Babel emergence as Ajax's answer at the striker position came rather suddenly. He scored on the first ball he touched and has continued scoring for the remainder of the season. Babel probably could've scored as much as 10/15 if not for the experiments trying to add Charisteas into the picture. This had Babel playing wing which resulted in "only" 7 goals in 20 games. Definitely not a bad thing as the switch in positions only made Babel a much better player. He scored 6 goals and 1 assist in his first 8 games, and in his wing period he scored once while adding 3 assists. It was hard scoring for Ajax this year though, but Babel led the way while averaging around 65 minutes per game. He also contributed with a goal in the UEFA cup and one more in the Amstel Cup. Ryan Babel is only 19 years old and is already on his way on becoming a full time international, so far his goal scoring clip in Orange is a .500
: It wasn't hard for people to draw comparisons to Patrick Kluivert. The two are nearly indentical in pretty much each and every facet of the game when Kluivert was still 19. They are even equal in terms of height and size. Many people, including myself also see a bit of Thierry Henry in him, in how he uses his speed and techinque better and in that he's more athletic..
: Ryan Babel has the potential to start for the best teams in Europe. It's only a matter of time before he leaves to a big club abroad. But Ajax will ask a heavty price for him, especially now that van der Vaart is gone, Babel has become their new buildingblock. Considering Babel and Kluivert are so indentical when both were 19, it wouldn't shock me if Babel also becomes a top 3 striker in the world someday. He's already a fairly mature and complete striker..
Babel is a WC under 20 participant, his regarding quote
John van den Brom (assistent coach Oranje under 20):
'What can I say? Everyone sees him play. Complete striker, fast, strong, great technique, accurate in his chances and already a member of the Dutch national squad. Ryan is actually still a junior, but they don't say "what's good, comes fast" for nothing. The best part of Ryan is that he's never satisfied, he must and will continue to become better. I do think he's not all that great with the header, so he's working on that. The upcoming WC is a good tourney for a player like Ryan, he can distinguish himself there.
Nigel de Jong - Dutch - 1984 - Right Back/Midfielder - Ajax - (12)
In the last two months of the season, Nigel de Jong played some of the best football I've seen out of any Ajacied during the past few seasons. Naturally due to the fact Blind let him play his favorite position (on the right in an attacking role). He was simply amazing and so it didn't come as a shock when he was choosen as Ajax's top player of the 2004/2005 season. It also had to become obvious on the list, hence Nigel is the biggest riser, going from 12th into the top 5, surpassing teammate Johnny Heitinga. With 5 goals and 4 assists, (4 goals - 3 assists since the arrival of Blind (a ppg)), Nigel de Jong was also an extremely fun player to watch. His rushes and combinations had a lot of people sitting on the edge of their seat. Since making the switch from defense to midfield, I can't imagine Nigel to ever miss out on the Dutch national side anymore.
: Fast dribbler with rapid footwork. Reads the game well at both ends, loves to tackle, but loves to lead a rush even more. Can get by his man by technique or go for the combination (he and Steven Pienaar are a sick combo).. Accurate finisher, long cross needs some work. Strong vocal leader for a kid his age (20)..
: Manchester United is pulling hard, as are several other big teams, but Ajax is keen on keeping him. After saying how he wouldn't mind a transferm, Nigel came back at this during the last game of the season, saying he'd be back for another season, fortunately. Nigel is a pretty unique player, he can cover an entire flank, he can score, defend and play with flair. Will be a major contributor wherever he goes. Definitely a star in the making. One problem however, will be his minutes for the national squad. Now that he's established himself as a quality midfielder, he has to fight with van Bommel, Landzaat, Sneijder, van der Vaart, Maduro, Davids, Seedorf, Cocu for playing time.
Salomon Kalou - Ivory coast (soon to be Dutch) - 1985 - Striker - Feyenoord - (15)
Salomon Kalou has had an amazing season for a grossly underachieving team. He and striker collegue Dirk Kuijt combined for 49 goals and 24 assists, which unfortunately proved to be the only bright spot for Feyenoord this year. With 20 goals (2nd) and 11 assists (4th) in his rookie season, Salomon Kalou is proving to be something special. The 19 year old is pushing hard to earn a Dutch passport, as both he and Marco van Basten want eachother. Seems to be some struggle, but I think it will be worked out. With a potential group of Kalou, van Persie, Robben, van der Vaart, Babel, Huntelaar, John and Quincey, the Dutch won't have to worry about offensive talent anytime soon.
: Fast, agile, nose for the net, constantly aware, a real "goaltjes dief" (goalgetter). Doesn't score many goals from outside 16 meters, but will be a threat at every place on the pitch. Is not a very complete striker.
: Whether the competiveness in the Dutch league is average at best or not, scoring 20 goals and adding 11 assists as a 19 year old is amazing. Salomon will likely leave for a big team in a year or two, but I don't think he'll fit in everywhere.. There's no telling in how good he may become. I can see him becoming a top notch striker for an European sub topper, ala Olympique Lyon, FC Porto, Valencia etc, or even in the mold of Bayern Leverkussen.. Will eventually make the Dutch national squad if everything goes well.
John Heitinga - Dutch - 1983 - Central Defender/rightback - Ajax - (4)
Much like every Ajacied this season, Johnny didn't enjoy a very good season either. Still, he's had his moments this year. He even got named Captain for a stretch but like all he was constantly in and out of the line-up (No Ajacied managed to be a full time starter, they all got benched sooner or later). He's getting way too cocky for his age and reputation, but still, even in a down season, Heitinga showcased his worth and has gotten some quality teams asking for his services (Juventus, Manchested United). He maintained his spot on the national team, that was his first priority and he seemed to managed that. He dropped out of the top 5, but that's not saying all that much considering the gap between the top and the rest of the top 10 is extremely, extremely close.
: potentially, Heitinga can be one of the most complete defenders in the world. He has speed, strenght, loves to tackle, is strong in the air, passionate, sound positionally, has very strong leadership qualities, a great long pass, accuracy and an offensive game. He has it all but hasn't quite put it all together in a package just yet, hence his biggest flaw, inconsistency.
: Needs another full, healthy year with Ajax before he leaves for a bigger team or else the transition might be too much of a problem. Has the potential to anchor and captain defenses of great teams. Arguably the Dutch next Captain in line as well..
Wesley Sneijder - Dutch - 1984 - Midfielder - Ajax - (3)
A very odd 5 spot drop for Wesley Sneijder as he was probably the most consistent Ajacied of all, and that's quite the accomplishment on his own seeing as how ****** and inconsistent everyone else played. That said, Babel emerged, Kalou developed into a premier goalgetter while van Persie did what he had to do for Arsenal. He was arguably better than Rafael was this year, but Rafael had his moments where he showcased his brilliance, Wesley was consistently playing on the same level (Rafael could play below par for 10 games only to look brilliant in the next. Wesley was solid most of the time and didn't have Rafael's peaks). With 7 goals and 8 assists, Sneijder finished the season as Ajax's top player statistical wise. Wesley maintained himself as a valueble member of the national squad as well.
: Extremely accurate in his passes, Sneijder loves to join the attack as well as being defensively accountable. Wesley easily has the biggest shot among all the prospects I've listed, as about 65% of his goals came from a range of 16/25 meters. They are hard, suprising, accurate and nearly impossible to stop, he rarely misses the target. His only knock against him should be his size, but due to his fast style, his awareness and feisty game, it has hardly been a problem so far.
: At least another season with Ajax to develop a better defensive game, must try to be more consistent as well. Can be a key presence for pretty much every team in the world when he reaches his full potential and learns to be consistent. One of the Dutch building blocks for the future, Sneijder will likely leave the Ere divisie in 2006/2007.
Hedwiges Maduro - Dutch - 1985 - Midfielder - Ajax (HM)
What a year it was for Hedwiges Maduro. After starring for Holland's youth in 2004, Maduro managed to crack and maintain a spot in the starting eleven. Not only that, he impressed Marco van Basten (who also coached him with Jong Oranje) that much, that he also earned himself a place on the national team. Provided a strong defensive presence at midfield, and also managed to score twice in 12 games.
: A tall and reliable player, Maduro is a two way midfielder who's a vocal, yet quiet presence. Can be assigned to take someone out, or be assigned to create offense. Strong shot, good with the header, strong on the ball. He's extremely effective in everything he does. Maduro can become the Dutch most complete player walking around at midfield, for his age group that is.
: Probably an Ajacied for at least a few more years. Maduro's future looks extremely bright. He will be heavily scouted the upcoming year(s). Maduro will be a player teams are after who lack a stable, quiet, all-round force at midfield. Big teams will soon stand in line for him, if they aren't already. Because of his maturity, attitude and all-round game, Maduro will fit in pretty much everywhere. The Serie A will be the league most suited for him IMO.
Hedwiges Maduro is a WC under 20 participant, his regarding quote
John van den Brom (assistent coach of Oranje under 20):
'It's going hard with Hedwiges. He knows how to deal with the pressure, He's a smart guy. Beautiful, complete player with a superb pass. Hedwiges is strong, fast, atlethic and on top of it he makes goals relatively easy.. I think he has to be more of a leader on the pitch, he has the qualities. He has to develop further on the personal level.'
Klaas-Jan Huntelaar - Dutch - 1983 - Striker - Heereveen - (NR)
Oh how PSV would like to invent the time machine, only to fly back to 2003 when they let Klaas-Jan Huntelaar walk (on loan, but still, they no longer hold his rights). Huntelaar went to the Graafschap (bottom feeder) where he couldn't crack the squad as a 19 year old. He then went to a 2nd division club which he absolutely tore apart. He quickly got noticed by Heereveen where he now is their starting striker while finishing 4th in the league in goals. The 21 year old was streaky though, he had about 12 goals in the first half, but only 5 in the second, including a hattrick.
: A physical, deadly striker, Huntelaar is simular to Ruud van Nistelrooy in some ways (both have also played for Heereveen and PSV). Uses his body well, turns in and out and finishes quickly. Isn't much of a ball hog, he either shoots or he passes it back. A simple and utterly effective striker. Good control with the ball at all times.
: Has the potential to lead the league in scoring as early as next season. Very much capable of 20+ goals in a league not relying as much on technique, but more on strenght and effectiveness (Germany, England, Scotland). I see him following Ruud's footsteps. Maybe even to the detail, joining Manchester United when Ruud leaves (which seems like a realistic sight these days).. Only a matter of time before he makes his debute in Orange. He's already been selected a couple of times, but it's hard to crack the Dutch national squad as a 21 year old striker when you've got to compete with Ruud van Nistelrooy, Roy Makaay, Ryan Babel and Dirk Kuijt. Then there are also Pierre van Hooijdonk, Patrick Kluivert, Jimmy Hasselbaink, and a few promessing youngsters (John, Quincey, Kalou), who are all still eager to return/make their debute. Will be very tough, especially since Marco van Basten likes to play with only one striker. He will make it eventually, just not anytime soon. He has to wait till the current generation retires or decline (Ruud, Makaay, Kluivert)..
Quincey Owusu-Abeyie - Dutch - 1986 - Striker/Shadow striker - Arsenal - (NR)
"Stolen" from Ajax's junior ranks, Quincey is a rare and sick talent but isn't breaking into my top 10 because of inexperience at the highest level (understandable) but also a bit because he likes to toy with his opponent too much, resulting in ineffectiveness at times, so his maturity needs some work. Though only 19 for about a month, Quincey already played a few games for the Gunners this season, drawing some attention with his highly entertaining game. Arsene Wenger is said to have big plans for Quincey in the near future.
: Based on pure talent and instincts, Quincey would lead this list by a fairly decent margain. He's probably the highest skilled player I've ever had the pleasure to watch live.. He's so strong physicaly, it's not that as much as he's a bulldozer, but you nearly can't knock him off the ball when he has his sights set towards the goal. He combinates this with rediculous speed and control, to go with a high arsenal of moves.
: Fortunately for Quincey, his 2 biggest problems are completely understandable for a kid his age and are relatively easy to overcome. He will no longer toy around much once Wenger gets to have more time on his hands with him. A player with superstar potential, if all goes well Quincey could play for the biggest teams there are and skyrocket into the top 5, if not take over the reigns. Will definitely be a full time international once he matures and gets some playing time.
Quincey Owusu-Abeyie is a WC under 20 participant, his regarding quote:
Foppe de Haan (headcoach of Oranje under 20):
'Quincey kind of plays like a rookie. And I don't mean that in a negative way. The unexpected and unexplainableness (word?) of his game makes him so hard to contain for his opponent. Quiney is such a rare player in that everyone who plays against him will be terrified. So fast, such rediculous moves.. He's actually a bit of a phenom.
Ron Vlaar - Dutch - 1985 - Central defender - AZ - (NR)
Ron Vlaar made his debute for AZ in the UEFA Cup quater finals this season and hold his own just perfectly. He controlled his nerves from there on and proved to be a very reliable and stable force for AZ's backline. Of major value for young Oranje and so Marco van Basten called him up for the big boys right away. Has yet to make his debute, but this may come as early as wednesday vs Finland. Van Basten is a huge fan of his.
: A big, sound defender who's always calm and never panics. Not defensively, but not with the ball either. Always makes the right decision, very smart player who I think will be quite underrated because of his quiet, yet effective game. Above average speed for a guy his size, but relies more on a positional game anyway. Solid with the ball, but won't ever be an offensive threat.
: A very raw talent, Ron Vlaar will play at least play a few more years in the Dutch competiton. Defenders like him are needed everywhere and should have little trouble fitting in. Doesn't have game breaking potential or anything, defenders in that mold rarely have, but he should be a wanted commodity. I see him playing for a subtopper in the PL someday..
Ron Vlaar is a WC under 20 participant, his regarding quote:
Co Adriaanse (his coach with AZ, now coach of FC Porto):
'A good, rightfooted central defender who we included in the selection during the winter break. Ron is developing himself extremely well. He's very strong defensively but can also be of value in ball posession. He's a player of the future '
Steven Pienaar - South African/Dutch - 1982 - Right midfielder/forward - Ajax - (9th)
A personal favorite of mine, Steven is a product of Ajax’ education system in South Africa. He’d probably start on a lot of teams already, but that’s rather difficult and hard to do when you have Sneijder and van der Vaart ahead of you on the depthchart. Plays with heart and despite his funny way to walk and sprint, is actualy quite fast. Plays a mature game and seems to be one of the vocal leaders on the youngest squad in the world.
: Always active, with or without the ball, can play every midfield position as well as playing behind the strikers but also likes to tackle and defend agressively. Likes to show off his skills.
: More of a roleplayer than a scorer, Steven Pienaar will likely get more credit whenever he sees regular time on the pitch.
Ibrahim Efellay - Dutch - 1986 - Creative Midfielder - PSV - (NR)
A highly talented youngster, Ibrahim is PSV's most promessing player. A broken toe saw him making his defenitive debute later than expected (his official debute came in 2003 at the age of 17), but the breakthrough came. Ibrahim stepped out of the shadow with 2 goals against arch rivals Feyenoord, (two beauties btw). Ibrahim had a great season, even though he appeared in only 7 games (started in 3 - Finished with 2 goals, 1assist).
: A player with fast ball handlings and good offensive instincts. Loves to make meters and go on fancy dribbling tours. Owns a good cross but prefers to go for personal succes as he has the talent to do so. Lanky, athletic offensive dynamo with an impressive area of skills.
: Efellay is expected to be a full time regular for PSV next season. He will likely start rushes from the right, whereas Park tries to do the same from the left flank. Judging by his skillset can become a star potential player. Still very raw so it's hard to see what the future holds for him, but it's definitely promessing. A player in the mold of slightly lesser skilled Robin van Persie but with a lot more defensive comittment.
Arouna Koné - Ivory Coast - 1983 - Striker - PSV, on loan from Roda JC - (HM/21)
The 21 year old is coming off a good, yet still a somewhat dissapointing season. With 15 goals (good for 7th in the league, no penalties) and 7 assists, Koné was one of the top point getters of 2005. The bad news was that he failed a physical when a dream transfer to Ajax seemed all but done. Koné was coming off an injury at the time, so he had a legit excuse, but Ajax wanted to handle fast since they wanted to use him in European games as well. The deal fell through and Koné since had trouble regaining his form. He got it back in the later stages of the season and finished on pace again.
: A skillful, yet streaky striker. Koné's ability to score from everywhere makes him a dangerous threat the opposition needs to keep their eye on at all times. Tends to dig himself in holes when he isn't playing as well as he should. As most of his countrymen, is a flashy but still effective player. Weak with the header and isn't much of a physical player, Koné relies on his finesse skillset, his shot and overal awareness.
: Probably enjoying his last season for mid range club Roda JC. Ajax seems to be off the list now, but there's still plenty of interest both from the Dutch league as world wide. Could become a valueble striker in a stronger league, ala France where Lyon would be a perfect fit. Lacks the physical strenght and hardiness to survive in say the Premier League.
Daniël de Ridder - Dutch - 1984 - Attacking Midfielder/Winger - Celta de Vigo, on loan from Ajax - (10)
Due to Ronald Koeman wanting to have a pure right winger more so than a tweener, Daniel de Ridder didn't quite have the season he had hoped. He only appeared in 15 games, scoring twice, assisting twice, in limited action. Daniel has been superb for Young Oranje and with a quality season (read: lots of playing time), he'll definitely be considered for the big boys of Holland. He has what it takes..
: Daniel de Ridder is a flashy and talented player who loves to attack. Amazing free kick and a cross which always seems to find its target. Needs to be more consistent and pay more attention to the defensive side of the game. Poor header and gets knocked from the ball still a bit too easily..
: Lots of teams have contacted Ajax about a possible loan, but Ajax isn't wanting to hear anything about it. De Ridder is in Ajax's plans, but he's playing the most crowded position there is. He has to fight harder and/or wait for his turn. His time will definitely come, but whether it's with Ajax is yet to be seen. Also a player who's potential is of higher quality then of the current competition he's in. He might actually move as soon as next year if he won't get the proper playing time a kid his age should get, whether Ajax would like that or not.
Collins John - Dutch - 1985 - Striker - Fullham (16)
It was hard deciding between John and Huntelaar, but seeing as how John did manage to crack the national squad (twice actually), while Huntelaar never got further than the bench, I gave him the edge. With 4 goals in 8 games for Fullham last year, Collins John had a tough time cracking Fullham this season. However, John requested to start in the later stages of the season and impressed a lot of people. He scored in both of them while creating plenty of more oppertunities.
: A mix between Jimmy Hasselbaink and Samuel Eto'o. Owns a very hard shot, loves to fight through traffic. A physical imposing player, John is also good with the head. Best asset is probably his deadlyness whenever he's in the box, also knows where to be whenever oppertunities appear. Not much of a playmaker at all, highly skilled, but not al that flashy. Control needs help as well. Tends to keep his head down when things aren't going his way.
: Has probably impressed his coach enough to justify better treatment and at least become a regular starter. When he establishes himself, he could very well become a 15/20 goal scorer, if not compete for the title. Perfect Premier League player, I can see him succeding in England for a long time, though Spain might suit him as well. Already a Dutch international at the age of 19, so his future seems very promesing. His potential is probably too high for Fullham to keep him during his prime years, one of Englands top teams will probably sign him in a few years.
Collins John is a WC under 20 participant
Edit: dropped from 10th to 17th due to poor WC performance and inability to earn minutes for Fullham.
Haris Medunjanin - Dutch - 1985 - Shadow Striker/Creative midfielder - AZ - (NR)
Another participant of the WC under 20, this may be seen as a surprise pick. Haris only has 3 professional games on his hands with AZ but I think he has game breaking potential and thus decided to place him above some who might've been more deserving in terms of experience and such, but this list is probably more based on potential anyway.
: A potential difference maker, Medunjanin is a hard working playmaker with a nice touch of flair in his actions. Some like to make Dennis Bergkamp/Barry van Galen comparisons when they hear his name (strictly stylewise though), mainly because he has this unpredictable, yet accuracy with his passing in crowded area's.
: Both the striker as shadow striker positions are well stacked for AZ, so Medunjanin probbaly has to wait another year before he can push to become a full time regular. Expect him to take away some minutes from Barry van Galen (36), but nothing more just yet. A player to keep your eye on for the future. I'm positive Medunjanin will represent the big boys of Holland someday. Until then, AZ will develop him nicely before preparing a big move abroad when he's nearing his prime. He'd probably have the skills and potential to play in Europe's biigest league's.
Haris Medunjanin is a WC under 20 participant, his regarding quote:
Co Adriaanse (his coach with AZ, now coach of FC Porto):
'I'm a huge fan of Haris and didn't let him have his debute for nothing. He's a real #10, very creative with a sharp cutting pass as his trademark. On top of it, he can score goals quite well. His mentality is good and he is, as everyone in our youth ranks, a down to earth, normal kid. We find that important. Haris has everything what it takes to make it in the big show'
Urby Emanuelsson - Dutch - 1986 - Left Midfielder/Defender - Ajax - (HM/24)
18 Year old Urby Emanuelsson managed to crack Ajax and play in the final 3 games of the season, starting in the last two. He played all of them out of position (left back), but increased his game significantly over those 3 matches. He got graded a 4.0 in his first full, 90 minute debute (they don't grade substitutors, which he was in his official debute) but was still among the better defenders of his side. He received a 6.0 (usually the highest grade of the game is a 7, that game it was a 6.5 from van der Vaart) in the last game of the season and made sure Ajax fans have something to look forward to in 2005/2006.
: A player who will likely be a succes in many places due to his effectiveness in terms of skill as well positionally. A fast and entertaining player to watch, Urby is one of Holland's brightest all-round midfielders. Can be used to create offense or contribute defensively, a versatile player.
: With the future of Trabelsi and Maxwell uncertain, Urby will likely play as a defender in the first stages of his career. Very comparable to Nigel de Jong, Urby Emanuelsson will always try to show off his offensive skills, whether he's being used as a defenseman or not. Ultimate left midfielder though. Urby is expected to make the step from Oranje under 20/Young Oranje to the official Dutch squad some day.
Urby Emanuelsson is a WC under 20 participant, his regarding quote:
John van den Brom (assistent coach Oranje under 20):
'A pure footballplayer, leftfooted, awsome technique, always seems to know where to be positionally and makes the right choices. Urby is a left midfielder but can also play in the middle or succeed as a left back. If I have to be critical, I'd probably mention his right foot, but with his qualities he's bound to follow Maduro and Babel, making his Ajax debute'.
Gianni Zuiverloon - Dutch - 1986 - Central/Right Defender - Feyenoord - (NR)
A young, promessing defender who should have been a regular this year, but the staff decided to go with expensive players from abroad. Zuiverloon is a better player than whatever Feyenoord bought, but he's young (18) so he'll get his chance. He did manage to appear in 10 games scoring no points, playing his secondary position (RB)..
: A lanky two way defender, Gianni is probably the most offensively gifted defenseman you'll find on this list, he does this without letting it affecting his defensive responsibilities. A tough player one on one, but also understands the game positionally. Good with the header as well.. Long cross needs some work.
: Should become a full time regular for Feyenoord within the next 2 years. Definitely won't move out yet as Feyenoord isn't exactly filled with defensive youngsters, not with Gianni's pontential at least. Expect Feyenoord to treat him as their first born but they will likely have to see him leave to a quality team abroad in the end. With de Jong officially being transferred to a midfielder, Zuiverloon's path to become an eventual international seems like a realistic sight in a few years.
Gianni Zuiverloon is a WC under 20 participant, his regarding quote:
Ruud Gullit (his coach with Feyenoord):
'Gianni is a central defender of origin, but plays on our right from time to time. He's learned a lot but isn't always training along as he has a school to finish first. He's got a great technique and doesn't shies away from physical matchups, you could see that in our lost game in The Hague vs ADO. He was the only player on the pitch to get a quality grade. He has the qualities to reach impressive hights in the world of soccer'.
Rasmus Lindgren - Swedish - 1984 - Creative midfielder - FC Groningen, on loan from Ajax- (19)
Rasmus Lindgren made his competition debute this past year and he's done amazingly well in all 4 of the games he saw. He started 3 of them, receiving respectful grades of a 7, 6 and another 6, in that order. He's been better than the 20th spot, but too many players have emerged this year and at 20/21, he's a little bit older than the rest. Tough choice, but like the top 10, the bottom 10 are every bit as close.
: Despite his size, Rasmus is a player hard to get off the ball and always finds his way to deliver the ball wherever he wants it to. Loves to set up attacks and always manages to be the open man in order to create plays. Haven't seen his shot much..
: With Rafael gone, Galasek aging, Ajax fans will see a little more out of Lindgren next season. Definitely more than the 4 games we saw of him this past season. He will likely be with the group all season long, and start a game here and there. He won't be a regular as long as he has Maduro, de Jong and Sneijder ahead of him. A potential stud, Lindgren too, will have to wait before he can really show what he's capable off game in game out.
Edit: Now with Groningen, Lindgren now has the perfect oppertunity to prove what he's really made off. He's already scored in his debute.
Last edited by Ajacied: 09-14-2005 at
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