Go Dutch: all-time Netherlands Premier League stars starting XI
As England prepare to host the Netherlands for a star-studded friendly, to celebrate all things Dutch here at Coral we cracked our heads together to come up with a sensational starting XI of Clockwork Orange players to have plied their trade in the Premier League.
Be it rapid wingmen, prolific poachers or staunch centre backs, the Dutch (9/2 to win at Wembley) have gifted England’s top tier with an abundance of fantastic footballers schooled in totaalvoetball tactics.
Read on to find out who makes our cut from the cream of the Dutch crop in England before Tuesday’s Three Lions fray, where Roy Hodgson’s men are odds-on 8/11 favourites to triumph.
Goalkeeper: Edwin van der Sar (Fulham and Manchester United)
There could be no other choice for the spot between the sticks other than consistent custodian Van der Sar, who manned the posts for both the Cottagers and Red Devils.
As Clockwork Orange’s most capped player in history, super stopper Van der Sar finally earned the plaudits his performances deserved at Old Trafford, where he made 186 appearances and lifted four Premier League titles.
Van der Sar best saves:
Right back: Mario Melchiot (Chelsea, Birmingham City, Wigan Athletic)
After arriving at Stamford Bridge on a Bosman, Ajax academy graduate Melchiot turned out to be a reliable backline recruit for the Blues, with whom he was an FA Cup winner and Premier League runner-up. Later stints with Birmingham and Wigan were not as fruitful, but the full back still had respectable stints for both.
Centre back: Jaap Stam (Manchester United)
Rearguard rock Stam lifted three league titles in his time at Old Trafford, after being plucked from PSV Eindhoven for what was then a record fee of £10.6m for both a defender and Dutch player. Sturdy Stam often proved to be an immovable object, though his tough tackling style saw the stupendous centre back’s technique become vastly underrated.
No such thing as a friendly! Watch Stam slam singer Olly Murs:
Centre back: Ron Vlaar (Aston Villa)
Similar to Stam in his no-nonsense approach to marshalling Villa’s defence, Clockwork Orange centre half and former Villans skipper Vlaar, now back with former club AZ Alkmaar, was a lynchpin during his three seasons with the Midlands men.
Hardman Vlaar’s highlights:
Left back: Giovanni van Bronckhorst (Arsenal)
Adaptable Van Bronckhorst’s guile, graft and intelligence played a part in the Gunners’ romp to the league title in 2002, before the Dutch defender returned to haunt Arsene Wenger with Barcelona in the 2006 Champions League final.
Van Bronchorst’s best bits:
Defensive midfield: Nigel de Jong (Manchester City)
Midfield destroyer De Jong’s combative style saw him become a crucial fixture for City as they developed into a Premier League superpower. The Dutch battleaxe spent four seasons with the Citizens, including the 2011-12 title-winning term, before exiting the Etihad for Italian giants AC Milan.
De Jong update:
Box-to-box midfielder: Ruud Gullit (Chelsea)
Chelsea’s Dutch connection continues with famously dreadlocked defender Gullit, who excelled at Stamford Bridge after being switched from struggling sweeper to midfielder. The Jack-of-all-trades with an eye for a pass was a Blues fan favourite, going on to become player-coach and helping Chelsea capture an FA Cup coup in 1997.
Playmaker: Dennis Bergkamp (Arsenal)
Blessed with top class vision, simply brilliant Bergkamp set the bar high for all Dutch talents hoping to make their mark in England, following the technically gifted attacker’s exploits at Arsenal. A Gunners legend, the three-time Premier League champion should make the cut in any Dutch XI.
See a snap shot of Bergkamp’s superb skill:
Right forward: Marc Overmars (Arsenal)
Just like clubmate Bergkamp, fellow Gunners great Overmars’ education at Ajax came to fruition at Arsenal, where the flying Dutchman outfoxed opponents with his beguiling mix of skill and speed. Nicknamed “Roadrunner”, Overmars tasted both FA Cup and league success during his stint on English soil.
Excellent Overmars in action:
Centre forward: Ruud van Nistlerooy (Manchester United)
Now Netherlands assistant manager, prolific predator Van Nistlerooy once stalked England’s top tier centre backs, waiting for errors and opportunities to pounce upon.
One of United’s most potent Premier League-era attackers, the dangerous Dutchman proved himself a prudent buy many times over with 95 strikes in 150 league outings.
View vintage Van Nistlerooy here:
Left forward: Robin van Persie (Arsenal and Manchester United)
Van Persie’s perfect left peg has been responsible for some of the Premier League’s most stupendous strikes, and the Clockwork Orange attacker makes our cut for scoring 144 over his time at Arsenal and United.
Smooth, skillful and silky on the ball, and tactically intelligent off it, the lethal sharpshooter still has something left in the tank despite recent criticism of his time in Turkey and his omission from recent Dutch squads.
Watch Van Persie’s perfect volley against Aston Villa:
Subs bench: Ed de Goey, Wilfred Bouma, Daley Blind, Jonathan de Guzman, Dirk Kuyt, Arjen Robben, Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink.