Ten Cate bonds coach? ‘When I feel appreciation, there’s always something to talk about’

At the table in Studio Voetbal on Sunday evening was the man whose name was on the lips of all the followers of the Dutch national team all day long, Henk ten Cate. On Sunday-morning, Kees Jansma announced in the online talk show of Football International that the 65-year old Ten Cate has been put forward by the players‘ council of the Dutch Team as a possible successor of Ronald Koeman.

“If so, it’s very honorable,” Ten Cate responds. “The players are the best frame of reference. Nice, but unexpected. I’m surprised I seem to be in the picture after all. A few years ago I wanted to do it and I was close to it. Now I haven’t thought about it, or maybe I have, but I haven’t drawn any conclusions yet.”

Marten de Roon, by the way, dissociated himself from dropping Ten Cate’s name on behalf of the players’ group. “The players’ council has a lot of contact with the management of the KNVB about anything and everything, but there was no mention of names or lists of names. That’s utter nonsense”, said De Roon.

Bonje with Van Breukelen

In 2017 Ten Cate was also in the picture as national coach. Although his appointment had not yet been formally completed at the time, Ten Cate felt that he had already been the national coach of the Dutch national team for half a day. Former KNVB technical director Hans van Breukelen had promised him the position.

Van Breukelen later withdrew that promise, and Ten Cate had a journalist listen in on a conversation with Van Breukelen. The latter called it “almost rude” and in the end it was not Ten Cate, but Dick Advocaat who became the national coach.

Ten Cate: “What happened is that Hans called me and told me that he needed more time to think about it. He said: I deny everything and then we’ll see who they’re going to believe. That’s when I decided to open my phone. Not in front of it.”

Strange if you allow yourself to be led by the media

For Ten Cate, the events of that time do not constitute an obstacle to possibly rejoining the KNVB. “If I have the feeling that there is appreciation, there is always something to talk about,” says Ten Cate. “But I’m not there yet.”

Ten Cate complains about the role of the media in the appointment of the new national coach. It strikes him that the same names are always mentioned when a national coach is sought, in which the media often have a compelling voice in his opinion. “Apparently there are only four or five who can train the Dutch national team? Very odd. It’s a joke.”

“A little weird when you’re being led by the media,” Ten Cate continues. “The first gun clatter has begun. There are very clear preferences. You guys have preferences, too. It’s about lines. One newspaper says yes, the other no. One TV show is for, the other against.”

Ten Cate: “It’s a piece of politics. I think as an organization you just have to make a profile of the employee you want for a certain trajectory. In this case, a trainer.”

Ten Cate does not yet want to say whether he aspires to the post of national coach, but he does recognize that he sees a lot of potential in the current group of the Dutch. “The Netherlands has players who can get even better every year. Yes, this is a good time to get in. This is a team to win prizes with.”

Take a look at the fixed sections in Studio Football below: Short Corner and End Signal