Why have Holland failed to qualify for both Euro 2016 and his summer’s world cup?
We have a structural problem with our coaching. It needs to be improved big time. It is a big task for the Dutch federation but they are very busy with that, so I hope that something comes out of it. The problem has nothing to do with the level of big players we have now — even though we no longer have Marco Van Basten, Bergkamp, Gullit, Rijkaard, Van der Vaart, Sneijder. Germany’s players now are also not as big but when you look at their style of play it’s exactly like we used to play in Hollland so something’s wrong.
Why has that changed?
Johan Cruyff was our father of the way we always played but his tactics and his rules are so simple that nobody has taken that seriously for the past couple of years. I am in an interesting period to see how I can get myself involved in creating something new in developing the new coaches in Holland.
It’s the start of a new era when Holland play England tonight. How do you see that going?
Ronald Koeman is a very good friend of mine and I played with him — that was a big honour! As a coach he’s been successful, maybe not in the last period at Everton but coaching a club in this era is very difficult. But now as coach of the Dutch national team I am very confident that he will bring the team forward.
There’s a lot of talk of 18-year-old Justin Kluivert, son of Patrick, making his debut.
I don’t know if he plays but I hope he does. Justin is always a joy to watch. He’s very young but extremely talented and has a promising future. He needs time to develop but he’s one of the few players of which we expect a lot.
You won the first of your 32 caps as a 19-year-old. What advice would you give to him?
It’s always difficult to take advice when you’re young. You have to experience yourself and learn from that but I’m pretty sure he will be one of the next stars in international football.
What’s your prediction for tonight’s game?
Difficult. That’s dangerous! I don’t know. I hope we see a great game. A win for Holland at the moment is not necessarily as important as the way they play.
How much did you enjoy playing in England for Nottingham Forrest?
It was a great honour to play for Forest and to play in the Premier League. In those times they played better football than now for less money. Forest were following me for a long time and after I played the World Cup in 1994 they asked me to play for them. I had some options but I saw what was happening with the Premier League and Sky Sports, so I decided to go. I had two successful years and we played passing football so we entertained the fans. The highlight was finishing third in the Premier League which was amazing — we had a great team.
You are an adviser for SportCo, a platform which rewards fans for contributing their opinions.
SportCo is a win-win for everyone, especially the fans because they get rewarded for their engagement in the most modern way, tokens — which can be traded for tickets and merchandise. They are at the centre of this eco-system, and the idea is to get the clubs, players and media attached to it. I believe the idea is perfect.
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