There are 3 problems with your reasoning: 1. The system and style of play helped the Dutch CB's to simplify their job. The spaces were tight at the back and the CB's had to defend less space. If we go back to 4-3-3 with a higher line, things will be vastly different again and then we have to revisit these quality's you describe from de Vrij to see if they still hold up against the same opposition we faced at the WC. Or even against less opposition like when he got a panic attack against Estonia and lost the plot. 2. In case we compare Kongolo vs de Vrij, the point is more about complete vs incomplete rather than speed vs anticipation. You describe a hierarchy of preferable quality sets for a defender, but if both players check off the football ability box, it moves on to the next box like speed and manhandling for example. 3. Anticipation sounds great, but no defender has his anticipation always right. Misjudgment happens. In the past we called that a "de Boertje" (though that was not only about misjudgments, it was a defender that lived of his ability to read the game, possessing little speed) speed then gives a defender a possible second chance. Speed is corrective tool this way. I like this extra layer with a defender, certainly in a system with a lot of space in the defenders back. Speed was less important with our WC setup than in a possible 4-3-3 with a higher line. The importance of the quality differs from setup to setup. Again. Vlaar could exercise the fire fighting role as he was also helped by the system. The performance of the defenders can not be dragged over 1:1 when we talk about a different system. You react on a 4-3-3 system, but we did not play that way in the WC. On a side note, it also showed that in a 3 at the back the central CB does not necessarily does the build up. That is a misconception that Ronald de Boer also touched on when he spoke on national television. Like how they won the Euro U17 title next to each other? Yeah that was horrible. http://www.uefa.com/under17/news/newsid=1629610.html From that link: You formulate a general rule but do not discriminate for special cases. Also consider this. Koeman is a coach that does take that rule into account when he can, however had Kongolo as sub for de Vrij at the one point. Kongolo was the man behind de Vrij. A feyenoord fan can correct me here, but I am pretty sure this was the status at one point. Later Kongolo was used more to the left side again, after the Mathijsen injury, when he made his real break through. On top of this, IIRC I also read an article or even saw a interview on Youtube where Kongolo expressed preference to play as a right center back. I am not unsympathetic to this point, but Rekik was wanted by van Gaal from the very first months he played for PSV, though hampered due to injury and made his debut vs France already. Kongolo was taken to Brazil by van Gaal for a reason. The best defender from Feyenoord in the second half of the season was not de Vrij (though he closed strong), not BMI, but Kongolo for me. Actually Kongolo at one point was chosen over BMI when a choice had to be made between them. Go figure. BMI was part of the past campaign and has a great character. Now with the new campaign we have to reassess the situation and determine who we want to build on for the future. In that way my line up is not only build on realism, but also contains an amount of preferable direction to build towards. We don't have breathtaking vision these days or players that can go from seeing it, to executing it (Sneijder has become so wasteful). Ziyech can paint with his left foot but he redefines the word wasteful. Promes is actually a pretty complete package though not up to a very high level. But since van Gaal thought he was good enough to test vs France I say play him on his best spot more central. I want to see him tested there. About that. I suggest for next time a post with your own preferences. If you have your own ideas it is best to make an own line up. Saves me time as well. Anyway I like Man City playing football, they score many goals and we might have the players to do our own (light) version. What? Clasie is not a box to box player. What gives you that idea? He had cramp already in the Brazil match after barely playing at the WC. Also Xavi box to box? Clasie of all players lacks an engine for that role. That is just not a good idea. Clasie has play making ability's, either from a deeper position or more up the field. Make him commute all the time and you run him into the ground. Again. People forget that van Ginkel was closing in on Stroot and surpassed him at the U21 Euro. Not because Cor Pot kept him on the field, but because he did better than Stroot IMO. Stroot that tourney was ran past a lot. What you describe about Roma happened after that tourney. Van Ginkel in my book is as important as Stroot long term. That is why I still pity the day he went to Chelsea. Rekik and van Ginkel belong to the Dutch players with the best winner mentality, even leadership mentality. Ola John is a mental midget. They are at opposite ends of this spectrum. Van Ginkel was according to the Chelsea doctors also perfect in sticking and executing all exercises to come back from his injury, which was really quick. Van Ginkel might fail at first, but if somebody can pick himself up and push through, it is van Ginkel. Rekik the same. Ola John has 0 grit. 1 more thing to level with you. I see you quote me on multiple occasions and I will answer those, but I would like interaction brought down to a minimum between us. It's not that you don't make some interesting points, it's that you sprinkle your posts with ways of expressing yourself and addressing of people that I do not like. I do not want to empower your style of posting by putting energy into it.