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Could Dutch Troubles be a Problem for Newcastle United?

It has been well-documented over the international break that the Netherlands’ qualifying campaign for next summer’s European Championships has come to an unexpected halt, succumbing to 1-0 and 3-0 defeats to Iceland and Turkey respectively. Guus Hiddink’s vacant post in the managerial seat was taken on by former assistant and Holland international Danny Blind, who was looking to kick-on and improve on a somewhat stagnating qualifying campaign.

Could Dutch Troubles be a Problem for Newcastle United?

However, over the past two weeks “improvement” has not transpired, leaving the Dutch teetering on the brink of failing to qualify in 4th place in Group A, behind Iceland, Czech Republic and Turkey. With only two qualifying games remaining, and only 10 points accumulated, automatic qualification is out of reach for Blind’s young side. 3rd place in the group is still up for grabs, and the Dutch will battle it out with Turkey for the play-off spot to ensure they don’t miss out on their first European Championships tournament since 1984. With assistants Ruud van Nistelrooy and Marco van Basten, the Netherlands are not short of experience on the international stage however with the loss of Arjen Robben to injury in the Iceland defeat and the suspension of Bruno Martins-Indi, players with 108 caps between them, the young side headed by their young, inexperienced manager seems to have grinded to a halt.

Does this pose any repercussions for Newcastle United?

With an already large Dutch contingent on Tyneside, the Netherlands’ international woes could have negative repercussions for Newcastle United’s season. The additional motivation of playing in a major European tournament will subside for the Dutch players and potentially lead them to slack and tail off in terms of performance levels towards the close of the season. Gini Wijnaldum, Tim Krul and Vurnon Anita all did not feature in the 3-0 defeat to Turkey but the fact that this trio are always in contention to feature in the Dutch side means that negative morale could be potentially damaging to Newcastle’s squad. Understandably, United have a good group of players and failure to qualify will not sit too long in the memories of Dutch players, but the added incentive not being there for Newcastle’s Oranje of playing in Euro 2016 could be at the back of their minds.

A possible oversight on Danny Blind’s part or a tactical error was the omission of Daryl Janmaat, preferring the inexperienced and naive Gregory van der Wiel and Kenny Tete in Janmaat’s native right-back position. Van der Wiel of Paris Saint-Germain does have 46 caps to his name, but playing at a lower level in Ligue 1 for the best side in France may be detrimental to Dutch football, as van der Wiel’s complacency was evident in the last two qualifying games. Anticipating the Icelandic and Turkish opponents were nothing too tasking to deal with, how wrong that assumption turned out to be. Janmaat’s omission was a strange decision especially for Newcastle fans, as he was a top performer at St James’ Park last season and despite a difficult start to 2015/16, Janmaat’s class is permanent. Also the fact that he has been playing at a higher level, putting in more assured defensive performances due to the fact that Newcastle United often do more defending than attacking, however the former Feyenoord man is proficient going forward also, scoring a well-taken finish against Northampton in the last round of the League Cup.

Another possible negative impact of the Netherlands’ probable failure to qualify is the re-emergence of Siem de Jong, whose 2015/16 campaign is his breakthrough season in the Premier League after a torrid time out injured for almost the entirety of last term. United’s Dutch playmaker was a regular in the Netherlands squad before successive, unlucky injuries to his knee, lung and thigh that kept him out for almost 9 months. With the added motivation of a European Championship at the end of the season, de Jong may have been more inclined to prove his worth to new head Danny Blind.

While United’s Oranje contingent may be disappointed at missing out on featuring at a major tournament, their focus on Newcastle shouldn’t be too skewed or so the supporters will hope. One of the most competitive squads in the recent past should force Newcastle’s squad to really up their game in order to carve out their starting place in the first XI. The likes of Anita, Krul, de Jong, Janmaat and Wijnaldum may be disheartened but their hunger for success at club level should be stronger than ever, despite being winless inside 4 games.


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