Ajax players will make their debut in Orange considerably faster this century than PSV players and Feyenoord players, according to figures from opta. This week, national coach Louis van Gaal passed Justin Bijlow, while he called up no fewer than eight Ajax players. Is it ‘favouritism’ or is there logic behind it?
From the figures of opta It appears that Ajax players have played an average of 34.5 Eredivisie matches before making their debut in Orange. Strikingly enough, players from Feyenoord (86.8) and PSV (85.5) need more than double the number of Eredivisie matches before they make their debut in Orange. The big difference can also be seen in Van Gaal’s selection for the Nations League games against Poland (September 22) and Belgium (September 25).
With eight players, Ajax is the main supplier and occupies no less than a third of the 24-man selection of the Dutch national team. “It has to do with the quality of the players. I think Ajax is the most wealthy club, so they can also buy the better players,” Van Gaal said at a press conference on Monday. The fact that the national coach chose to call up Davy Klaassen nevertheless raised questions. “Friendship politics, just write that down,” Van Gaal snapped journalist Valentijn Driessen from The Telegraph cynically, after which he reacted more seriously. “I’m all about individual quality. No, the fact that Ajax players also bring their automatisms to the Dutch national team does not play a role in this. We play a different system at Orange.”
PSV only supplied Cody Gakpo for the current Orange selection. Van Gaal left Xavi Simons, Joey Veerman and Armando Obispo to the left, while Ajax player Kenneth Taylor with 23 Eredivisie matches to his name was called up. In the list of fastest debutants of this century, seven Ajax players, including Wesley Sneijder, Hedwiges Maduro, Kenny Tete and Ricardo van Rhijn, make up the top ten.
According to Sjoerd Mossou of the General Newspaper is the explanation for the striking statistic ‘diffuse and multifaceted’. “Van Gaal, Marco van Basten, Ronald Koeman, Danny Blind and Frank de Boer were national coaches this century with an Ajax link. Each of them will have always put together his selections to the best of my knowledge, but their frame of reference was (partly) formed within the philosophy of Ajax. It is not surprising that their view of football – and of talent – has been influenced by that. According to Mossou, in any case, Feyenoord currently has little right to speak, given the small number of basic players from their own training.
Orange debutants per club (this century)
Number of debutants: 30
Average number of Eredivisie matches: 34.5
Number of debutants: 26
Average number of Eredivisie matches: 85.5
Number of debutants: 23
Average number of Eredivisie matches: 106.7
Number of debutants: 18
Average number of Eredivisie matches: 86.8
5. FC Twente
Number of debutants: 8
Average number of Eredivisie matches: 183.5
Fastest debutants in Orange (this century)
1. Hedwiges Maduro (Ajax, 3 Eredivisie game)
2. Ron Vlaar (AZ, 6 Eredivisie matches)
3. Matthijs de Ligt (Ajax, 7 Eredivisie matches)
4. Joël Veltman (Ajax, Eredivisie matches)
5. Ryan Babel and Wesley Sneijder (both Ajax, 12 Eredivisie matches)
7. Kenny Tete (Ajax, 13 Eredivisie matches
8. Ricardo van Rhijn (Ajax, 15 Eredivisie matches)
9. Karim Rekik (PSV, 18 Eredivisie matches)
10. Jetro Willems (PSV) and Ugur Yildrim (sc Heerenveen, 20 Eredivisie matches)