Naples – Italy March 9th, 2014 – A disaster occurred in Stadio San Paolo, the consequences of the thrilling encounter stretches far beyond AS Roma’s loss. Oranje international: Kevin Strootman injured his knee and will miss the World Cup in Brazil.
Kevin Strootman’s Injury
Dubbed as one of “The Big Three” (Arjen Robben and Robin van Persie) by Louis van Gaal landed wrong after an innocent challenge, known for his valour, Strootman continued the match. After 5 minutes, Kevin surely regretted his decision as he collapsed on the ground with excruciating pain. His face spoke a thousand words; something was wrong, terribly wrong.
Torn ligaments, broken meniscus and a damaged medial tube, very complex medical terms and hard to understand, to simplify it for every non-doctor: Goodbye World Cup!
The big damage to his left knee will take up a period of 9 months of rehabilitation.
A dream shattered in pieces for Kevin Strootman, and a nightmare for Louis van Gaal. Oranje’s coach numerously declared his admiration for Strootman’s qualities and was planning on building his team around him alongside Robben and van Persie. So who’s up to the task to replace the 24-year old. We’ve lined the four best options for van Gaal to consider:
Last season, Fer moved from FC Twente to Norwich City. The physical strong midfielder is a regular starter for The Canaries, and has been solid for them. Albeit, his style of play differs from Strootman’s play, Fer’s strength, stamina and attacking urge could serve Oranje well during the World Cup. However, Fer is not the most intelligent player and lacks creativity plus overview to create chances. This is not van Gaal’s best bet.
Starting the season as a left back, Daley Blind was moved to a central midfield position by Frank de Boer. The youth product impressed as a midfielder and has been named as one of the reasons of Ajax’s Eredivisie dominance. Daley Blind possesses the same passing capabilities as Kevin Strootman, their passing succession is nearly equal ( 88,3% and 88,4 %. However, Blind does not have the drive forward seen in Strootman, the Ajax-man only scored 1 goal and provided 1 assist, compared to Strootman’s 6 assists and 5 goals. Lastly, Blind’s physical presence is less intimidating than Strootman’s large physique. This could be a good option for van Gaal, if a strong physical midfielder is placed next to Blind.
Jonathan de Guzman
Another Premier League midfielder and one that has featured frequently under van Gaal. In our opinion, Jonathan de Guzman is the best choice for van Gaal; his passing is very strong, de Guzman has a natural drive forward and can score from distance. The only aspect missing to fully replace Strootman is: heading ability and strength. This can easily be solved by placing Nigel de Jong next to De Guzman; forming a complementary block on the midfield.
The new Feyenoord-captain is the last option to consider, and although his play resembles quite a lot to Strootman’s, Clasie does not have it in him to replace him. Louis van Gaal lined him up in the friendly against France, and his short-comings were exposed brutally by the French. His speed in terms of playing the ball and sprinting were obviously less than his French counterparts. Blaise Matuidi dominated him on the midfield and as he stated himself: “ France is a worldclass opponent, and I still have a lot to learn if I want to reach that level.”
There you have it, in our opinion: Jonanthan de Guzman is Louis van Gaal’s safest best, his play resembles Strootman’s and with his experience on international level, de Guzman is able to partially fill in the void left behind by Strootman.
His shortcomings can be camouflaged by placing a complementary midfielder next to him such as Nigel de Jong.
Who do you think should replace Kevin Strootman? Comment below