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Ronald Koeman faces huge task to rebuild Netherlands nationa
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sportsbet Retired stars, a "lost generation" of Dutch players, and issues with the Eredivisie... Ahead of Friday's friendly with England, Nick Wright looks at the challenge facing Ronald Koeman as he attempts to rebuild the Netherlands national team.

Ronald Koeman says he has been "crazy about football" since his departure from Everton. It was, he added this week, the "right moment" for him to take over the Dutch national team. But was that his craziness talking? Koeman is a legend in the Netherlands for his part in winning the 1988 Euros, but his reputation is on the line now. Can he reverse their decline? Can anyone?

Since the third-placed finish at the 2014 World Cup under Louis van Gaal, Guus Hiddink, Danny Blind and Dick Advocaat have all failed. Hiddink left with their Euro 2016 qualification campaign in disarray, Blind was unable to turn it around, and their efforts to reach the upcoming World Cup went the same way under Advocaat.

They have suffered one mishap after another. The first of two embarrassing losses to Iceland came just months after their run to the latter stages in Brazil. A galling defeat to Bulgaria wrecked their hopes of reaching Russia last year. The Netherlands, an iconic team of the past who were ranked fifth in the world in 2014, now sit 21st in FIFA's standings. They are at their lowest point for generations.

"It has been a very difficult period," Rik Elfrink, a journalist for Algemeen Dagblad, tells Sky Sports. "We did very well at the 2010 and 2014 World Cups, finishing runners-up and third with Wesley Sneijder, Rafael van der Vaart, Arjen Robben and Robin van Persie, but now they are all retired or old. It's a big challenge for Koeman to build a team at the same level."

Koeman can call on Liverpool's Virgil van Dijk and Lazio's Stefan de Vrij at centre-back in addition to Bournemouth's Nathan Ake and Ajax prospect Matthijs de Ligt, but with Sneijder, Van der Vaart, Robben and Van Persie out of the squad, the Netherlands have lost a combined total of 440 international caps and 143 goals at the other end of the pitch. sportsbet

How do you replace that? It's the biggest question facing Koeman. He will be encouraged by Memphis Depay's progress at Lyon and by the Champions League pedigree that Liverpool's Georginio Wijnaldum and Roma's Kevin Strootman can bring to midfield, but there are few proven options beyond that.

"We have a lost generation between 23 and 29, that's what we call them," Martin Wijffels, another journalist for Algemeen Dagblad who has covered the Dutch national team for 15 years, tells Sky Sports. "Wijnaldum and Van Dijk are the only ones playing at the very top level. For the rest, it's difficult.

"Yesterday I asked Koeman if he sees us on the level of Iceland, and he accepted that comparison. They don't have big individual talent but they made a decent squad and reached two tournaments in a row, beating some bigger opponents. We have to build a new team without the world-class quality. We have to be Iceland for the next two, three or four years."

Koeman's remit is to guide the Netherlands to Euro 2020. He hopes to achieve it by rebuilding their confidence, nurturing their identity, and by putting youth at the centre of it all. His first squad, for their friendlies with England and Portugal, contains five uncapped players and six under the age of 22. Ryan Babel, now at Besiktas, is the only inclusion over the age of 30.

Patrick Kluivert's son, Justin, is the most exciting member of the new generation. The 18-year-old has emerged as a major prospect at Ajax, but with Manchester United already reported to be chasing him, Elfrink believes fulfilling his potential on the international stage might depend on what happens next at club level.

"We have some exciting players of around 18 or 19 years old, but we always have them at that age," he says. "They are so young and inexperienced, but a lot of our young talents go away to big clubs too early. Memphis is a good example. When you look back at his move to Manchester United, maybe it was not the best choice for him at that moment. sportsbet

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Message English Premier League: Andy Carroll rescues West Ham; earn Répondre en citant
West Ham and Stoke City faced off at London Stadium in a little Monday night football. Both teams were seeking points with relegation looming.

ทาง เข้า sbo The first half of this Premier League contest could be described with multiple synonyms of the word boring. Tedious, mundane, dull, and many more. Nothing happened. Let’s move on to the second half. Both teams brought some fresh blood up front to try and steal the three points to move up the table. David Moyes brought in Javier Hernandez for the Hammers while Paul Lambert pushed in Peter Crouch for Mortiz Bauer.

Crouch proved himself useful with this poke nine minutes after being subbed on. Crouch’s first goal since November was possible by another ghastly blunder by his former England teammate Joe Hart. Hart has had a season to forget at the London Stadium.

West Ham needed a goal as a loss would put them closer to relegation. Another former Three Lions target man checked into the game late in the second half. Andy Carroll was subbed on in the 86th minute for his first appearance since January 4th. Carroll made it a good day for big guys and a great day for the Claret and Blue. This volley clinched the draw for the Hammers and Carroll’s first goal since a brace on January 2nd against West Brom. ทาง เข้า sbo

Hammers need more points to feel secure
The draw puts the Hammers seven points away from the bottom three. West Ham is unbeaten in three straight and their recent good form will be tested in two Sunday games. Next Sunday, it’s Arsenal. The Sunday after that, it’s the champions, Man City. Moyes does need to develop some kind of strategy so games aren’t getting rescued by Andy Carroll at the death. West Ham is more talented than Stoke and should have had this home fixture down as a simple win.

Stoke needs help and fast
The Potters remain in 19th and are five points behind 17th placed Swansea City. Stoke does break a four-game losing run with the draw but extends their winless run to ten. Their next two games will be daunting tasks. They next face Burnley on Sunday, one of the best defenses in the EPL. On Saturday the 28th, they get to play one of the best offenses at Liverpool. The Potters need help big time. Xherdan Shaqiri is a goner but they can still save the season with a couple of wins and a draw or two. A final day meeting with Swansea City could be a do or die match to decide promotion and relegation. ทาง เข้า sbo

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Message Ronald Koeman faces huge task to rebuild Netherlands nationa

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