How at Oranje the ‘Koeman’ line can become the ‘De Boer’ line

Frank de Boer takes his first step against Mexico on Wednesday evening as coach of Orange. If it is up to the KNVB, the players and the staff, it will be a first step in the continuation of the Koeman line.

It couldnt be said enough in the last few weeks. The new coach of the KNVB had to continue on the path taken by Koeman. The core and bottlenecks in a row.

Things that dont change

โ€œ Something is going to change,โ€ said Ronald Koeman when he started as a national coach in 2018. At that point, a logical statement. The Dutch football, especially the Dutch team, was in a valley. And Koeman kept his word.

Some crucial decisions followed: Virgil van Dijk became captain, Georginio Wijnaldum became more important, Memphis Depay was given a central role, Frenkie de Jong debuted and the new generation got a chance.

โ€œ I would be crazy not to continue on the same lineโ€, said De Boer at his presentation. At the moment, its just as logical as Koemans ruling back then. โ€œIt would be strange to suddenly change systemsโ€, De Boer also said.

Zeist, a golden move

โ€œ A top sport climateโ€, De Boer called the atmosphere around Oranje in Zeist. He congratulated the KNVB and Koeman for that far-reaching choice two years ago. After thirty years of gathering in Huis ter Duin in Noordwijk and training in Katwijk Oranje returned to the Zeister forests.

A golden move for the team spirit. There was talk and play again. Dont do anything more about it, De Boer knows.

Koeman didnt do it alone. An important condition of the KNVB to continue the Koeman line was the preservation of the current staff, with assistants Dwight Lodeweges and Maarten Stekelenburg and goalkeeper Patrick Lodewijks.

De Boer saw that as well and thought back to his collaboration with Hennie Spijkerman at Ajax during talks with Lodeweges. โ€œI got energy from Spijkerman and at Dwight I get the same energy back,โ€ De Boer said.

Things that could change

The national coach in 2020 is asked more than just putting the males in the right place. Keeping the unit and keeping the country behind the team are some of the most important tasks. Koeman succeeded with flying colors.

Everything was right according to the players and staff under Koeman. Outside and inside the field. All players felt free and important, as well as the staff members. โ€œThe ideal coachโ€, said captain Virgil van Dijk Koeman. See that equate. A crack quickly becomes a crack.

The federal coach must also be a good manager. Is that De Boer? โ€œAs a manager, I made very big steps,โ€ De Boer said about his adventures abroad. โ€œI know how to deal with certain situations. Whether I should indent directly or not. Communication is important, explaining why.โ€

Koeman was a national coach of all Dutch people and was well with all players. The Farmer still has to prove that. As a starting trainer at Ajax, he banished Mounir El Hamdaoui to the second team. During his presentation as a national coach, he was asked whether he could deal with players with a Moroccan background.

โ€œ Whether you are yellow, brown, white or purple, I dont care,โ€ De Boer responded. โ€œIn the end you have to make choices as a coach. For the sake of the result and the group process. Ive never had any problems with players again. Maybe it was a coincidence.โ€

With the selection of Mohamed Ihattaren for the coming interlands, De Boer showed his soft and human side at least. De Boer: โ€œWe wanted to put a heart under Mos belt. Say, โ€œWe believe in you.โ€ He is only eighteen years old and has a lot to learn.โ€


Koeman was rejuvenating Oranje. In 2018 he made eleven players debut and in 2019 another three: Donyell Malen, Calvin Stengs and Myron Boadu. It is up to De Boer to continue this rejuvenation where necessary. Teun Koopmeiners and Owen Wijndal will be able to make their debut in the coming international countries and Ihattaren could have done that without groin injury.

Selection also causes pain on the other hand. Players who would normally have taken Koeman to the European Championships this year may have to leave in the near future. Looking at players by age in the selection, the first eye falls on 33-year-old Ryan Babel, under Koeman fifteen times base player. Or 30-year-old Kevin Strootman, who was always there under Koeman, but last had a base place two years ago.

โ€œ Everyone has earned their place right now,โ€ said De Boer. โ€œOver the course of the year, we will see what we need in the short and long term. Look first, observe. Thats what I told the boys.โ€

The goalkeeper situation can become an acute problem. Now De Boer is still holding on to Jasper Cillessen, Tim Krul and MarcoBizot, although the first has lost its base place at Valencia, the second plays at the second level of England and the third is experiencing an unfortunate start to the season. An invitation to the 22-year-old Justin Bijlow of Feyenoord seems a matter of time.

โ€œ We know what to do with Jasper (Cillessen, red.). Hopefully he shows you hes the number one. We did talk about Bijlow. If he continues to develop, he knocks firmly on the door. Checkout Marco Bizot directly for a lesser period is not fair,โ€ said De Boer.

Things that change

Certain changes are in the details according to the new national coach. โ€œI have the experience to see and convey these details,โ€ De Boer said. โ€œWe know that Oranje can play football fantastic. That step to the left or right can make all the difference. Those details can be decisive.โ€

According to De Boer, no minor detail is also the self-reliance of players. That they no longer need a Letter of Lodeweges, but can cause a turnaround in a competition themselves. More responsibility among the players is De Boers motto.

As an example, De Boer mentioned the last interland against Italy. โ€œEveryone saw that they were swimming. They didnt get into the duels. Then it seems lazy. Then the players must be able to switch to plan B.โ€

Unlike Koeman, this Orange under De Boer is going to play a big tournament, unless the coronavirus is also a breaker next year. De Boer obviously wants to get a prize, but even more so he wants to leave an indelible impression.

โ€œ When I walk out the door, I want everyone to remember this period. That people say: this team, we liked to watch it.โ€ In other words: that people are happy to remember the De Boer line.