My 10 best dutch players ever

Discussion in 'The Beautiful Game' started by tony-soprano37, Oct 31, 2019.

  1. tony-soprano37

    Dec 5, 2008
    AFC Ajax
    Nat'l Team:
    I rank them not only by achievements but also equal or even more important by quality/ability so its my personal opinion.

    1 Cruyff
    2 van Hanegem
    3 van Basten
    4 Wilkes
    5 Gullit
    6 Rensenbrink
    7 Krol
    8 Rijkaard
    9 Bergkamp
    10 Keizer

    Honorable mention : van Beveren.

    In my mind especially Rensenbrink is both by dutch people and people from other nations vastly underrated.
    Playing 3 cupwinner cup finals in a row (winning the first and last) also winning the european supercup against a great bayern munich and a great Liverpool and in all these winning finals being suprême.
  2. PrimoCalcio

    PrimoCalcio Member

    Oct 14, 2019
    This list really puts into the perspective the strength of the Dutch player pool historically. To think of so many names like Robben, Sneijder, Van Nistlerooy, Van Persie, Koeman, Seedorf, E. Davids, or Neeskens who couldn't make your top 10 is proof of the strength of the Dutch football philosophy.
  3. tLB Odiseo

    tLB Odiseo Member

    Necaxa, Galatasaray, Real Madrid
    Dec 18, 2011
    Nat'l Team:
    1. Johan Cruyff
    2. Marco van Basten
    3. Ruud Gullit
    4. Frank Rijkaard
    5. Ruud Krol
    6. Dennis Bergkamp
    7. Arjen Robben
    8. Johan Neeskens
    9. Wim van Hanegem
    10. Ronald Koeman/Edgar Davids/Ruud Van Nistelrooy
  4. tony-soprano37

    Dec 5, 2008
    AFC Ajax
    Nat'l Team:
    Yeah for such a small country we produced Some great players
  5. PuckVanHeel

    PuckVanHeel Member+

    Oct 4, 2011
    As I said before;

    For me Cruijff and Van Basten are clearly the top two.

    Places three to nine belong to Wilkes, Van Hanegem, Rensenbrink, Gullit, Rijkaard, Bergkamp, Robben (not necessarily in that order) in my view if you try to weigh the various relevant things.

    So mine is different from yours in that I place WvH one category lower and prefer Robben instead of Krol. I'm far from convinced Krol was a more skilled, more influential and more accomplished player as Koeman was.

    More or less what Wim Kieft said recently:

    "[With his passing and goals] he created 20 goals a season in the Netherlands, and then also 15-20 in Spain. That was incredible."

    I can understand the sentiment he wasn't the best defender, but he managed to stand out in defensive and offensive teams alike.

    For example: PSV conceded only 3 goals when they won the European Cup, which simply is fantastic (all those legendary Milan backlines never did this when they reached the final!).

    One of the three goals conceded was a direct free kick, one of them a penalty where he is totally without blame and the third also a penalty fully without blame. Koeman was an integral and important part of that set-up, so in my view he could function very well in defensive minded teams (in what was a flat back four), just as that he did fine in offensive teams.

    For the number 10 spot there are various candidates. Krol and Keizer belong among those, but also Abe Lenstra I think (he created his goals against Great Britain, France, Germany etc. so not only a flat track bully in his own league and environment). Vd Sar is with his achievements, standing out with different defenses/teams (with the top defenders as Ferdinand, Evra etc. missing games during his best runs) and ability with the ball (assist at euro 1996, oldest assister in PL history) also a candidate for the 10th spot.

    But of course, it doesn't register among certain people...
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  6. tony-soprano37

    Dec 5, 2008
    AFC Ajax
    Nat'l Team:
    In general i appreciate you’re Posts you have lots of knowledge on football
    How can you rate van der sar above van Beveren ? Edwin was a great GK and won a lot.
    But van Beveren was a class above van der sar in terms of quality.
    About lenstra you could be right i actually kinda forgot him a bit.
    As for Krol ? Imo a criminally underrated player.
    Probably the most versatile defender ever.
    And (at least imo) in 2 positions he belong to the 10 best ever of all time worldwide being iT at leftback and as libero/central defender
  7. PuckVanHeel

    PuckVanHeel Member+

    Oct 4, 2011
    #7 PuckVanHeel, Nov 4, 2019
    Last edited: Nov 4, 2019
    Like I said before, I can understand the perception Van Beveren had more the look and feel of a great keeper, stylish and elegant, while the other was nicknamed "the rabbit" with the flappy ears needing speech therapy (in which he succeeded!) but VdS his collective and personal achievements are outstanding (the only goalkeeper to play 5 EC finals, the only to win with two different clubs etc.). He averaged over 3 saves per goal conceded throughout his career, which is great, and performed with sub-standard and great defenses alike.

    Even those great defenses missed a Ferdinand, Rijkaard, De Boer or Evra for long stretches while he set unbeaten 'world records' in those games. His 'GoalImpact' rating is naturally in that top bracket, up there with the great names, maybe even the best of them all (depending on the version of the algorithm).

    VdS was voted man of the match in a Champions League final (not only for his penalty save, per jury report) and has with Casillas the most clean sheets in euro history.

    Crucially, VdS was also a good footballer. That has now become more common but in his time he was arguably the best with the capacity to make the odd assist (euro 1996, the Champions League, 2010-11 in the Premier League). In a sport that's called 'football' that is another plus over Van Beveren. So for me, VdS is among those dozen players with a good case for the #10 spot.

    Van Beveren has also his place (the first 1 million guilders player) but VdS wins most of the relevant variables and criteria. His number of clean sheets for club and country are very good. The main negative is his Juventus spell but even there his goals conceded number and clean sheets ratio is good and the best of all keepers with a minimum of 30 Serie A games.

    In absolute numbers he is the most prolific Benelux player in history (@peterhrt showed the details).

    Very difficult to compare to a Van Nistelrooy or Van Persie half a century later obviously (and their own delivery against top teams) but think he is in that group for the #10 spot as well.

    He had a memorable brace against the world champions, when he was almost 36 years old!

    Is he underrated? Krol is regularly placed among the five best of his country and occasionally placed in a top 100 all-time.

    Personally (I went over this before) I don't see what makes him better as Rijkaard or Koeman, and even F. de Boer is everything considered not too far removed from him (including skill). F. de Boer was for a little while the player with most Champions League and European games, and by far the player who was most often captain of Oranje.

    For me (and I've explained this) Rijkaard is a step up - equally good or superior alongside all relevant criteria - while Koeman was about as good as him. One thing with Krol is that his best years and his trophies don't fully align. Krol is among those names for a #10 spot imho.

    Of course it is special that he went to Italy and made a good impression there (one of a handful central defenders to become footballer of the year in Italy, since the award exists), to the extent he became the idol/example of Baresi (as said many times by Baresi himself) and some other Italian defenders.

    Needless to say, we are comparing players who are all reasonable options for a Europe XI in their own time (even Aron Winter was selected, for real!). We aren't comparing Titus Bramble to Ruud Krol, with all due respect.
  8. PuckVanHeel

    PuckVanHeel Member+

    Oct 4, 2011
    One specifically strong region is Suriname. It's a region of 290000 (in 1960) to 550000 inhabitants, and that makes it quite impressive how many first and second generation footballers have won a Champions League. Just this year two more were added to that list (both with tangible contribution). To give an idea: Uruguay their population is 10 times as big. I'd say the weakest region is Limburg.
  9. tony-soprano37

    Dec 5, 2008
    AFC Ajax
    Nat'l Team:
    #9 tony-soprano37, Nov 10, 2019
    Last edited: Nov 10, 2019
    Willy dullens was from Limburg same as Willy brokamp the first injured and end career (Cruyff considered dullens to be more talented then him) the second drank away his talent.
    I am thinking of great players from Overijssel but i can’t come up with one
  10. tony-soprano37

    Dec 5, 2008
    AFC Ajax
    Nat'l Team:
    Ps i don’t think Uruguay is a good comparison. In football its an overachieving nation.
    With their small amount of inhabitants they have had great players.
    An all time Uruguay could compete against nations like spain, Portugal, and many other bigger nations. (Mazurkiwiz, nasazzi, santa Maria, andrade 1 and andrade 2, varela, schiaffino, francescoli, petrone, scarone, cea, Suarez. Just to name a few. That can make quite a strong team)
  11. Jaap Stam?
    edit: René Notten, Theo Palplatz
    tony-soprano37 repped this.
  12. PuckVanHeel

    PuckVanHeel Member+

    Oct 4, 2011

    (as an aside, this is interesting stuff; the Premier League countries by minute played)

    I was also thinking about Overijssel as a 'weak' region (didn't give it enough consideration to be honest) but gave it the benefit of doubt because of Jaap Stam or more recently Erik ten Hag or Bas Dost (not a great player but he played well in the 5-1 destruction vs Bayern a weak ago with some good scenes on the ball and positive passes, and has been almost a Golden Shoe winner).

    From the Twente region (within Overijssel) there are some football figures like Henk Kesler (former KNVB boss, very involved in very successfully organizing euro 2000), a number of good referees, but also UEFA Cup winners and starters as Sander Westerveld and Youri Mulder (Westerveld also made me think of Raimond van der Gouw who is from the same province and was Man United goalkeeper). Also a somewhat notable player is Arnold Bruggink who was kind of an eternal talent and is the most capped player for the under-21 team (and as midfielder the 2nd highest scorer, still). Jan Vennegoor of Hesselink who always returns in quiz questions for 'longest names'. Twente is historically the 4th or 5th club of the country so naturally there are some figures who went on to win things (for other teams), but obviously it is underwhelming.

    The origin of internationals until the summer of 2017:

    Which has some historic origins too (nowadays 23% of the youngsters have football as most popular sport to practice, but I'm sure this is higher in the west):

    However, relatively many people have a season ticket over there:

    It is also one of the regions that has both saturday and sunday teams (amateur senior and youth teams playing on saturday or sunday):

    As for the most notable football figures from the Limburg region, there is a nice wikipedia page for this

    Van Bommel
    Wiel Coerver (french article here)
    Huub Stevens
    Ronald Waterreus
    Boudewijn Zenden

    This are all figures who didn't limit their exploits to the league I'd say. It is rather weak I think. Strangely, as listed on the page, 'our' first female world player of the year is also from Limburg and she is best known for her technical ability and close control rather than physical prowess.

    Either way, there is something to be said about Overijssel as well as the weakest region.
  13. tony-soprano37

    Dec 5, 2008
    AFC Ajax
    Nat'l Team:
    Jaap stam was not good but great. Even worldclass.
    The other 2 imo just good players nothing more
  14. PuckVanHeel

    PuckVanHeel Member+

    Oct 4, 2011
    Stam was unquestionably world class and also well rated in Italy, the country of defensive mastery. He was shortlisted a few times (the final 3 names) for defender of the year, the #1 defender in DBScalcio in more than one Serie A season.

    Who do you see as world class players from Limburg though? (with exploits outside the local league). Mark van Bommel, possibly, and who else? Limburg has given us some good trainers/coaches though and also our best female player in history (so far).

    As shown above in the graph, about half of the internationals come from North and South Holland, slightly higher than a normal distribution (~40% of the population).
    tony-soprano37 repped this.
  15. tony-soprano37

    Dec 5, 2008
    AFC Ajax
    Nat'l Team:

    No worldclass players from Limburg maybe van Bommel for a period.
    Like i said before dullens in potention but we never know due to injurie cut his career.
    But i take the word of Cruyff as true he described dullens as more technical then him.
    Brokamp had the potential to become great but not the right mentality
  16. PuckVanHeel

    PuckVanHeel Member+

    Oct 4, 2011
    #17 PuckVanHeel, Nov 12, 2019
    Last edited: Nov 12, 2019

    Thanks for those ideas! Obviously I've heard of the players but don't know by heart where all those players come from (I knew of Notermans).

    Yeah not immediately convinced about either of those, and that's related to where they stand in their own generation. If I overlook a thing feel free to tell or correct me.

    Pierre Massy is most of the times ranked behind Denis and Van Heel in his own generation (also Van der Meulen but he's rightly and deservedly erased from this company!) though admittedly he did create goals against teams as Belgium, a very strong Czechoslovakia, Germany and created chances against a historically strong Uruguay side (said more than one report). So maybe he's hard done by and deserves better recognition/research based on the tangible things he did. Hard to tell without video. He was a technically sound player it has been said. I'll write it down as a player to research for myself at a later moment (Van Heel is from Rotterdam, Denis from The Hague and that might have played a part in the assessments, directly or indirectly).

    Carlier and Notermans are behind a hatful of their own era (Wilkes, Rijvers, Munck, Vd Hart etcetera). This is an era that did very little at international level (in part because the KNVB banned professionals) but say Van der Hart for example played continental finals as leader/captain and with renown for his passing ability. Van der Hart achieved tangible things at high levels and with tangible influence.

    Notermans played all his life in his native league and never won a single trophy.

    Carlier makes some sense. As a forward he won two league titles in France, when France was in an up period and had been World Cup finalist plus some European Cup finals. Indeed, there have been voices by 'experts' that he's unfairly forgotten, next to others of his generation, because he only played 5 times for the national team.

    Notermans his standing has received an upgrade by his contribution as a trainer/coach. He's for example also the coach and later mentor of Bert van Marwijk (the 2002 UEFA Cup winning coach, 2010 World Cup final), who in turn is the father in law of Van Bommel.

    Van Bommel has become a bit of a maligned player in how his disciplinary record was actually not as outstandingly bad as remembered (not anywhere close the Ramos benchmark), and his team achievements and his footballing quality (long range shots, neat and reliable in possession, solid distributor, injury time winning goals against Real Madrid from outside the box) get overlooked. He made it into the ESM team of the season, won the Champions League as starter (played another CL final with another team as the team captain), won eight league titles in four different countries, and the idea he couldn't play football is somewhat unfair. He's one of the younger Eredivisie debutants in history, but as a 17 years old he said Lothar Matthaus is his idol and that was always going to provoke thumbs up and thumbs down gestures. His highlight reel on the public broadcaster has become of this type.

    The current 2nd man at Liverpool (Pepijn Lijnders, the 2nd in command, the 1st assistant of Klopp) is from Limburg as well, I discovered after copy-pasting the previous post so oddly they have had some notable coaches and some notable administrators (Jeu Sprengers) but not so much notable players.

    There have been more coaches who won the Champions League or UEFA Cup than players, while normally it should be the other way around.
  17. [​IMG]
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  18. PuckVanHeel

    PuckVanHeel Member+

    Oct 4, 2011
    Yes indeed - also a Kluivert (41 goals plus a number of assists in Europe) and Vanenburg had tangible contributions while winning the Champions League - though with the 'asterisk' only three players of this team are born in Suriname itself. The others are 2nd generation 'immigrants' (if you can speak about 'immigrants', technically and formally they aren't).

    There is also Aron Winter (played five major European finals), Hasselbaink (twice topscorer in England, once combining with topping the assists; almost topscorer in Spain and losing out on penalties) who were both born in Suriname at a moment it wasn't an independent country yet.

    Long story short: this is evidently one of the stronger regions, and that with relatively few citizens. Other strong regions are north and south Holland, north Brabant, Utrecht and maybe Gelderland. Friesland and Groningen are 'average' at a first glance and the aforementioned Overijssel + Limburg are rather weak (the weakest of the lot).
  19. PuckVanHeel

    PuckVanHeel Member+

    Oct 4, 2011
    To come back to this topic of regional distribution, I found out today Excape Goat made five years ago such 'Holland without Holland provinces' team:

    Show Spoiler
    "This is the rest of Netherlands All-Time excluding North and South Holland.

    Van Breukelen (Utrecht)
    De Munck (Gelderland)
    Schrijvers (Utrecht)
    Suurbier (North Brabant)
    Stam (Overijssel)
    Blind (Zeeland)
    Brandts (North Brabant)
    Poortvliet (Zeeland)
    W. van de Kerkhof (North Brabant)
    Van Hanegem (Zeeland)
    Haan (Groningen)
    Wouters (Utrecht)
    Van Bommel (Limburg)
    Robben (Groningen)
    Overmars (Gelderland)
    Rijvers (North Brabant)
    Sneijder (Utrecht)
    Lenstra (Friesland)
    Dillen (North Brabant)
    Makaay (Gelderland)
    Van Basten (Utrecht)
    Van Nistelrooij (North Brabant)

    Honorable Mention
    Joris Mathijsen (North Brabant)
    Wilfred Bouma (North Brabant)
    Rene Van de Kerkhof (North Brabant)
    Simon Tahamata (North Brabant)
    Berry van Aerle (North Brabant)
    Jasper Cillessen (Gelderland)
    Virgil van Dijk (North Brabant)

    Squad Explanation
    -- This is a blog team for Holland, excluding players from North and South Holland. North and South Holland are the two biggest provinces in Holland.
    -- North and South Holland has the largest populations in the Netherlands. I suppose that this blog reflects that the rest of Holland can still come up with an All-Time team that could beat many of the all-time teams in the world.
    -- Ruud Van Nistelrooy, Marco Van Basten, Wim Suurbier, Jaap Stam, Williem Van Hanegem and Arjen Robben are members of my Holland All-Time Team.
    -- Hans Van Breukelen, Arie Haan, Wesley Sneijder, Kees Rijvers, Marc Overmars, Mark Van Bommel, Willy van de Kerkhof, Jan Wouters and Barry Hulshoff are also among the best in their position of their generation. Many of them should be on my Netherlands All-Time Team. This core of the team is better than most nations around the world.
    -- The emerge of Dutch football started with Johan Cruyff. The eras before him is sometimes known as "BC" or before Cruyff. Kees Rijvers is the best player before Cruyff "BC".
    -- Arjen Robben won a Champions' League with Bayern Munich. He took Holland to the Final of the 2010 World Cup Finals. If he did not have as many injuries, his status in the history of the game would have been higher. I rated him as good as the other star players of his generation.
    -- Wesley Sneijder won the 2010 Champions' League with Inter Milan and took Netherlands to the Final of the World Cup Finals in 2010. For a single year, he was the best in the world. He deserved more recognition, but unfortunately, his performance has been inconsistent.
    -- Rene Van de Kerkhof is the twin brother of Willy. He only made honorable mention. This says something about the talents on this team.
    -- Willem Van Hanegem was widely considered the second best Dutch player after Johan Cruyff. He was before my time, but I watched a lot of footage of him at the 1974 World Cup Finals. he is the type of players that I enjoyed and admired. I often listed him as my favorite player."
  20. poetgooner

    poetgooner Member+

    Nov 20, 2014
    Arsenal FC
    I've always been fascinated by how Hanegem is viewed inside vs outside of the Netherlands. I honestly heard of him years after I already recognized the likes of Neeskens and Krol. I mean, he's rarely ever mentioned when I talk to people or even on the internet. It's only when I started reading and watching the 1974 World Cup games that I was surprised to find out that most Dutchmen, especially at the time, rated him as only behind Cruyff.
  21. PuckVanHeel

    PuckVanHeel Member+

    Oct 4, 2011
    Took a long pause after I received the question more than a month ago but I'll try to answer this. Sorry for the long hiatus.

    I'm not sold on some of these, but then again I often find all the goalkeeper awards utter crap (worse as other positions) and the media of questionable influence.

    Westerveld is an interesting one. Unlike Van der Sar and (briefly, for a few years, and one/two tournaments) Stekelenburg I'm personally not sure whether he was ever among/near Europe's best goalkeepers, but some think different (Don Balon had him in their seasonal ideal XI after all). He did go to Liverpool after a transfer record.

    Below youtube videos and the likes you can find comments like this. "Best goalkeeper in the world in my mind in Real Sociedad" and "Sad how it ended in Liverpool for him" ---> "Yeah he seemed to go from being praised as a good keeper to be blamed for Liverpool’s faults in a really short space of time."

    Let's first look at what he said himself:

    "Liverpool employees have sometimes asked me why I think I am seen here as a 'legend' rather than a 'former player'. I replied that I had no idea. He explained to me that players here become legends when they have accomplished something very special, or have won prizes. Yeah, I don't see it that way."

    In addition to his unique status at Liverpool, Westerveld also had a special time at Real Sociedad. “When I came in there were relegation concerns and in the end we missed out on the league title by a hair's breadth. That's unbelievable.

    Although he had successes at his clubs, Westerveld only played six international matches. The goalkeeper had competition from Edwin van Sar at the Dutch National Team and that made it difficult. “That was really my bad luck. I played in the world top with Liverpool and Sociedad, but there was no chance at the Orange squad. With Van der Sar I had one of the best Dutch goalkeepers ever as a competitor. In addition, it was also true that he wanted to play almost every game and was always fit.”

    Nowadays a second keeper often gets playing time during unimportant matches, but that was not the case in Westerveld's time. “It was also not normal to give the second goalkeepers playing time in a practice match or World Cup match in which you had already passed. The only thing I regret is that I only played six international matches between 1999 and 2004. That is of course very little. With another competitor I probably would have played a lot more. On the other hand, it is better to sit behind Van der Sar on the bench than a keeper of the same level. Then it is very frustrating and incomprehensible, now it makes sense.”

    In modern times there is a lot of criticism of the Dutch goalkeepers. Westerveld can empathize with that opinion. “The overall level is lower than when I was a goalkeeper myself. In my time you could name a laundry list of good goalkeepers in the Eredivisie. Henk Timmer, Oscar Moens, Raymond van der Gouw, Ruud Hesp, Edwin van der Sar. You name it. That's different now. The keepers are generally much less consistent. A Sergio Padt keeps very well one week and the other game he is uncertain again.”

    There are still Dutch goalkeepers at the top under contract, but they no longer play. “With Jasper Cillessen and Michel Vorm, we have two keepers who sit on the bench at top clubs. In my day we also had goalkeepers at the top, but they played. With people as Vorm I don't understand why he wants this. At Swansea he was voted best goalkeeper in the Premier League, and then he chooses to be a reserve at Tottenham. He had played everything at almost all clubs in England, except here. That means you have lost your chance in Orange, while otherwise he would have been the undisputed goalkeeper of Orange for years."

    I think there are three additional comments to be made:

    - He said in his eyes Van Dijk and Kuijt were in some seasons the (arguable) best or most influential Liverpool player around (better than Gerrard yes). He doesn't see an angle for himself.

    - Interesting is how even in his own time he accepted the goalkeeper situation. While you can also feel disadvantaged when you play Champions League (achieved as key player) and the other plays for Fulham.

    - If you look at that era, there is one 'reserve goalkeeper' with more caps than him. That was the four years older Ronald Waterreus with seven caps. I don't know why he isn't mentioned by him. The main point makes sense.

    Kasper Schmeichel:
    "I was lucky again at Manchester City that I trained with my father, I trained with Seaman, David James, Joe Hart, Shay Given and Ronald Waterreus, who had a great influence on me because he was the first one ever that I saw do the side volley. I’d never seen that before. For him to come in and start doing that was incredible. He could do it left and right-footed, so to see those people close up, to see Seaman, this legend of a guy, the calmness and composure under pressure, his balance; it was incredible."

    How I see him:

    My main problem with him is that - next to games where he was the hero (2001 League Cup final, other big matches as Barcelona) - he had his mistakes (the 2001 UEFA Cup final, 2000 vs Chelsea). It's very tricky to asses that fairly but I think it was a bit more than I liked to see. Although the way he was ousted at Liverpool was probably unfair, and after 2004 or so he was unfortunate with injuries.

    Some perceived weak point was the command of the penalty area and communication. I think for a part this is also a stylistic issue. He preferred to catch the ball rather than punch. OPTA shows in their yearbooks he had a high 96% catch rate, but if one of the three balls you drop immediately result in a goal, the orthodoxy sees their perception confirmed.

    The Liverpool goalkeepers before and after him didn't fully convince either (we see now also Allison Becker being less secure, not universally praised, and eventually even dropped in february this year when Van Dijk wasn't there)

    "Westerveld was a great shot stopper but did lack dominance of the penalty area."
    "However, while Sander had proved himself to be a useful shot stopper, questions were asked about his capability when dealing with crosses and his command of the area."
    "Westerveld is a great shot stopper, but one could question his lack of dominance in the penalty area."

    Many foreign descriptions mention he was an excellent shot-stopper at his peak. I don't disagree but things like that are relative. I'm just not sure whether he was at any point really better than Van der Sar (it took Buffon a long time to equal his clean sheets and goals conceded stats at Juventus). The latter had seasons for Fulham where he had simultaneously the most clean sheets and most saves, saved once two penalties in one game, and has also still the record for most saves in one PL game when keeping the zero, per OPTA. When he was 40 and those sort of thing became better known, he was in xG prevented #1 or #2 of the league (there was/is a margin of error). Then perhaps one step above this, the shot stopping of Cech and Casillas at their very peak.

    Finally, he was known for his long goal kicks and distributional qualities.

    "A man with possibly the longest goal kick in the game (it would regularly go close to the opposition penalty area)"
    "Westerveld's monster efforts were never officially measured but he was widely acknowledged to have the longest kick in Europe. Westerveld quickly won over the Anfield crowd, who had grown weary of the inconsistency of David James and Brad Friedel. He offered stability to this vital position."

    "Sander Westerveld is the greatest keeper ever! At least that's the view Sid Lowe is increasingly coming round to.
    Not for the first time, Westerveld rescued la Real with some excellent saves but what really caught the eye was his distribution, fundamental for a side whose game is based on the speed with which they break. Twice Westerveld hit deadly accurate, 60-metre passes to the feet of Javier De Pedro, and his huge kicking, aided by the stunning aerial ability of Kovacevic, terrified Atléti."

    But this was of course not a coincidence:

    "In numerical terms, Stats Perform [OPTA] data shows that in 2000/01, no regular Premier League goalkeeper had a pass completion rate of more than 62% (and that was Chelsea’s Ed De Goey, brought up in Cruyff’s Netherlands)."

    In the end he made a bit too many (arguable) mistakes to really convince me (but I also know VdS was on the opposite end of the spectrum and Man United fans see it that way).

    Around 2003/2004 very few goalkeepers in world football were at their peak or at a team to show this. So that marks ideas about 'best goalkeeper' - and that phrase did appear in some foreign media - with an asterisk.

    The goalkeeper is a problem in recent years but it seems Bijlow is now a good one and there are also others showing up for the place as reserve keeper.

    A deeper dive into Flekken his stats confirms that. Since his debut in May 2019, the Dutchman has had the highest save rate of all Bundesliga goalkeepers. Also big names such as Manuel Neuer and Yann Sommer can not match the Orange debutant. The save rate is of course not everything.

    To put real value on that, we have to look at the quality of the rescues. The number of expected goals against is a useful measure. At Freiburg, that number is 5.85 this Bundesliga season. Flek has therefore performed better than expected with 4 goals against. Someone like Neuer is just above the number of expected goals against (3.87).

    (brief VI article of last week)

    WARNING: goalkeepers are I think the position where I disagree the most with the default perception or awards. For example, I think Sommer was the best at euro 2020 (the only goalkeeper with at least two excellent games in normal time) and Navas in 2014 honestly.

    This is rubbish:
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  22. PuckVanHeel

    PuckVanHeel Member+

    Oct 4, 2011
    Sorry for the chaotic reply but I think the gist of it is clear!

    Westerveld said himself catching the ball rather than punching simply pays off in the long run. Even if it can lead to the occasional mistake.
  23. PuckVanHeel

    PuckVanHeel Member+

    Oct 4, 2011
  24. PuckVanHeel

    PuckVanHeel Member+

    Oct 4, 2011

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