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Name Jaap Stam
Gender Male
Ethnic Dutch
Job Dutch Footballer
Desc Asserted himself as one of the best defenders in the world before famously falling out with Sir Alex Ferguson and leaving for Lazio. Ferguson would later admit to making a mistake. ‘At the time he had just come back from an achilles injury and we thought he had just lost a little bit,’ he wrote. ‘We got the offer from Lazio, £16.5m for a centre back who was 29. It was an offer I couldn’t refuse. But in playing terms it was a mistake. He is still playing for Ajax at a really good level’


Org Dutch National Team
Club as Coach Feyenoord [Head Coach]
  Reading FC [Head Coach]
Club as Player Ajax FC
  Lazio FC
  Manchester United

2015 11 28 Retrieve

[on Roy Keane] Every team needs a player like Keane, someone who can control the game and dominate the tempo. Tactically and positionally he always got it right and is very good in one-on-one duels

2015 11 29 Retrieve

[on Roy Keane] I played with him at United for a bit over three seasons, and we won a lot of trophies together. He’s the type of player who pushes everybody and keeps everybody sharp. He played very simple, and it looked very easy when you watch him play, but he was so important for the team

2016 02 03 Retrieve

[On Dennis Bergkamp] He was a world-class player, [. . .] look at him technically, the skills he could do in very small areas. In England we know him very well, and of course in Holland, for the national team. He’s been very important for Dutch football because he stands for the football we want to play - you should be strong on the ball and score goals yourself, but also put someone else in the position to score goals, and sometimes show nice things on the pitch as well, and get past players in certain ways. I remember the goal against Newcastle, where he turns a player and scores a brilliant goal. That’s what he’s shown in Holland, and in England of course

2016 02 04 Retrieve

[On Dennis Bergkamp] One of the best players ever produced by the Netherlands. Had a marvellous technique and goalscoring ability, but above all great situational awareness; he always knew where his team-mates were and how to bring them into the game. Wasn’t always a prolific goalscorer, but some of the goals he scored were incomparable. He was very clever at finding space and making himself available. He never stood still when he received the ball and that made it very difficult playing against him.

2016 02 17 Retrieve

[Quote on Cafu] People tend to forget that defensively he was very strong, but he stands out because of his attacking impulses and energy. Cafu just kept going - up and down, up and down - and never gave up

2016 02 18 Retrieve

[Quote on Cafu] I played with him at AC Milan, and he’s the type of full-back we like in Holland, who likes to take the initiative to attack, but also comes back as quick as he can to defend. He’s a great person as well. He’s played for the national team, won trophies for the national team, and he’s been outstanding for years and years

2016 02 19 Retrieve

[Quote on Roberto Carlos] His left leg seems to be made of iron. He had a fantastic shot, but thankfully I have never stood in the wall when he took a free-kick as I was always covering another player. If one of Carlos’s shots hit you on the head it could quite easily cause physical damage!

2016 08 22 Retrieve

[Blackett leaves Manchester United for Jaap Stam’s Reading] As we know, Tyler is a talented defender who has played for United’s first team. He can play as a left-back or a left-sided centre-back; he has got great potential in the sense that he is quick and athletic, defensively he is strong and he is good at set-pieces. As a defender he can go and play high up the pitch as well, and that is what we need in the squad

2019 06 30 Retrieve

[His former boss Jaap Stam says Liverpool have nothing to lose from signing teenage Dutch defender Sepp van den Berg] Sepp is a very talented player, we’ve said that many times at PEC Zwolle. We all know how this world works, so it’s inevitable that a player makes a transfer at a certain point in his career. We know that English and Spanish clubs scout all over the world, but especially in the Netherlands for talented Dutch defenders, because they’re known to be good with their feet. Those clubs usually have enough money lying around to take a risk and sign a few of them and see if it pays off in the long run. If it works out, great. If it doesn’t, they’ll probably sell them for more money than before. In the end it’s up to the clubs, but I wish Sepp all the best and I hope he’ll turn out to be a big success story at Liverpool.

[Stam has taken over as Feyenoord head coach ahead of the new season, but he did not try to bring Van den Berg across from Zwolle] We haven’t talked about that. Looking back at the situation we were in at PEC Zwolle, we were battling against relegation. In those cases, you have to make sure that the available players are of the sufficient level to perform week in, week out. In those cases, you don’t have time to educate and to develop, which sometimes could hurt the development of youth players. But to be very clear about the subject - if the youth players show they are ready, they get a shot

2019 10 22 Retrieve

[Stam: Newcastle wanted me as manager this summer] Newcastle United called me a few days after I signed my contract at Feyenoord. So it wasn’t an option straight away. I’m a man of my word. It was beautiful and honourable, because people in England apparently know what I stand for as a trainer

2019 10 28 Retrieve

[Jaap Stam has resigned as head coach of Feyenoord in the wake of their hefty 4-0 De Klassieker defeat to Ajax in the Eredivisie] I’ve thought about it a lot and for a long time. My final conclusion is that it is better for the club, the players and myself if I step aside

2019 12 10 Retrieve

[Man Utd legend Jaap Stam: Van Dijk may be even better than I was!] He didn’t grow up in the academy of a PSV or Ajax. He built his own career by starting at smaller teams and eventually going to Scotland as well and then coming into the UK. You need to work for yourself and he did it

[Stam concedes that a fellow countryman has probably topped him] Yeah, maybe [he’s] even better, I don’t know. But Virgil is a presence. That’s very important as a football player if you want to play in the highest leagues and the biggest clubs. Positioning yourself is very important. In possession but also out of possession because it helps you a lot. You get more time to do things as well and he’s doing a fantastic job.

2020 02 20 Retrieve

[Jaap Stam says Sancho can be a big influence for Man Utd] At United, Sancho gets an opportunity to play and he can be a real influence and help them out. It’s one of the biggest clubs in the world and players look at the future and how a team is trying to play. They want to talk to the manager as well about the prospects of the club. Probably every club will tell him the same story. But when you look at him and what he can do he can be a real big influence at United should he go there

He scored a very good header against Chelsea and the boy has a lot of potential. He’s got a very good personality and quality on the ball. And he has pace. Sometimes he needs to play it a little more simple, instead of wanting to show his qualities on the ball and being tricky. Sometimes you need to be more direct in the way you play in order to produce

He still needs to do better but this is normal for a young player where sometimes you look very promising and then other times you’re not producing. In a big team if you want to be a big player you have to be consistent in what you’re doing. I think that’s what he’s looking for as well

2020 02 20b Retrieve

[Jaap Stam has drawn similarities between Bruno Fernandes and Paul Scholes] I think Fernandes is a bit similar to Scholesy. He’s always looking to play forward. He’s got the ability to score. He’s got a great free-kick. He’s got a great pass. He is always looking to get into certain areas to get onto the ball and be influential in the game. He’s not exactly the same. Scholesy was a bit more aggressive without the ball. But in terms of football intelligence, he is similar to Paul Scholes.

The difficult thing is that agents are always pressing on behalf of their players. But players always want to play themselves, especially when you’re a big player and a manager tells you that you’re not going to play. You then want to go somewhere else and play for another club. And if you’re a big player like Pogba is there are always teams asking for you and who want to sign you. That makes things difficult for the manager who has to keep the player calm and make him feel happy and appreciated. This is especially true these days with all the money in football. ‘It’s an extra dimension to the actual football and with all the money around every player want to be thought of as the best. But they need to look at the big picture and look at what the club wants to do and how they want to play

2020 02 20c Retrieve

[Jaap Stam says Manchester United should be favouring a move for James Maddison over Jack Grealish] I like Maddison a lot. He’s a midfield player who is very comfortable on the ball and he’s always going into certain positions where he becomes an extra man. He can go by players and score goals as well as creating opportunities for others. Jack Grealish, I see more as a winger coming in. For United, they need to look more at direct wingers with pace going forward, instead of a player like Grealish. Who knows, he might be an important player because he is good in tight areas. But for me, it’s Maddison for United

Pogba is a quality player and I’d like to see him back in the squad because he brings something extra in terms of his ability on the ball and his passing. Then there’s his strength going forward and scoring goals and bringing others into positions to score goals. The difficult thing is that agents are always pressing on behalf of their players, especially when you’re a big player and a manager tells you that you’re not going to play. You then want to go somewhere else and play for another club. And if you’re a big player like Pogba there are always teams asking for you and who want to sign you. That makes things difficult for the manager who has to keep the player calm and make him feel happy and appreciated

2020 05 02 Retrieve

[Jaap Stam on Orkun Kokcu] When we played with one holding midfielder, he was one of the two who played a little bit higher up the pitch. But he can play as No.10 or he can play as a left midfield player. Sometimes he can drop in deep as well to get the ball forward to link up the play with strikers. He has creativity, scoring ability, stamina and running ability. He keeps on going. I saw him as a very promising player. The only thing he needs to work a little more on is the defensive part of his game. Ideally it would be good for him to stay in Holland, to adjust even more to playing three games a week and to get used to the intensity. But also to become more steady as a player because he is very young

2020 05 03 Retrieve

[Stam reveals ‘interesting’ talks over FC Cincinnati job] It is possible, the interest is there and I’ve had talks. But because of the situation with coronavirus and everything that is going on in the States, it’s on hold. We just need to wait to see what’s going to happen. But it’s a very interesting league and a very interesting club. So, it looks good, but I can’t say if it’s going to happen or not

I think in America everyone wants to be the best in what they are doing and they want to develop. You can see that the league is becoming more attractive for a lot of people. There are good players over there and a lot of people want to work there because they are trying to create something good. That’s what I like as well. I like to build something. I like to work with a team that wants to grow and become stronger. That’s how I was as a player and how I am as a coach as well. I like the challenge of building something and trying to bring a team to a certain level if the opportunity is there

[Stam, who spent nearly two years in charge of Championship side Reading between June 2016 and March 2018, is adamant that Cincinnati’s interest in him is not just down to his relationship with Nijkamp] I know him, but that’s not why he goes for me. We have a good understanding but a club like Cincinnati is a young club, they are in their second season in MLS, so they can’t afford to be friendly to people because they know them. He’s not making decisions by himself, he’s working together with other people at the club and they will make the decision together about what they are doing.

2020 05 04 Retrieve

[Jaap Stam has lifted the lid on his disappointing spell in charge at Feyenoord, admitting he would never have made the move to De Kuip had he known what was going to happen behind the scenes] I’d made agreements with Martin and Jan in terms of what we were going to do with the squad, players who might be leaving, that sort of thing. But then, in my last week with Zwolle, Martin left and then, a week before the new season started, Jan left as well and I was there basically by myself. Other people came in who had never been in these positions before and they told me there was no money to spend, they’d sold a couple of my players and that the money they’d brought in I couldn’t invest.

I brought players in who hadn’t really been playing and I also had to work with youngsters. For me, that wasn’t a problem, but I said that they had to know that results might be different from what Feyenoord had been used to. That we would need time to grow

They said that wasn’t a problem, but the first four or five months I needed to get players up to game fitness and people were still expecting results; you know how it goes in football. Eventually, I said that this wasn’t what I’d signed up for and that maybe it was better if they took someone else for the job because the agreements I’d made with the club weren’t like this

[When asked whether he now believes he would have been better off continuing the project he was building with Zwolle, the 47-year-old admits] Yes, but afterwards it’s easy to say that. And it was more to do with the people leaving and everything that happened before the season started. Sometimes, I was more like a man in an office rather than a manager working with his squad because there was a lot going on and I needed to do a lot of things. So, maybe it would have been better to stay [with Zwolle] and if I’d known what was going on and the problems Feyenoord had, then I would have made a different choice. But that wasn’t the case and that’s not how it always goes in football. When a club like Feyenoord comes in and wants to sign you, you are thinking ‘OK, that sounds good.’ That’s why you make that step but it turned out it wasn’t the right fit

[Both Cambuur and second-placed De Graafschap plan to take the Dutch FA to court over the decision and Stam says that he can understand why some clubs have been left disappointed] I think it’s correct that they haven’t appointed a league winner. But it would have been good had they brought up the two top teams from the second division so there would be 20 teams within the league next season. I think the two teams deserved it. Cambuur were 11 points clear of third place, it was likely that they were going to be winning the league. But now there are no guarantees that next season will be the same. They are building a new ground as well. I played for Cambuur, I enjoyed my time there. They’ve been fighting so long to get back in this league and so I can imagine it’s very frustrating not to go up

I played for Cambuur, I enjoyed my time there. They’ve been fighting so long to get back in this league and so I can imagine it’s very frustrating not to go up. They were in the cup final as well and now they are not allowed to play this game, so they haven’t got a chance to go into Europe by winning that either. For them it’s been a very bad decision. In Holland, you have the Super Cup at the beginning of the season played between the champions and the cup winners. That’s not going to happen now, so I think they could have played the cup final in that spot at the beginning of the next season. What they said over here is that all clubs could have a vote over what they thought was the best idea, but it seems like the Dutch FA didn’t listen and made their own decision. It was surprising and there was a lot of anger about it, which I can understand

2020 05 05 Retrieve

[ex-Netherlands defender Jaap Stam says Lionel Messi is still the best player in the world and deserved to pip Virgil van Dijk to the 2019 Ballon d’Or] Normally a defender is underestimated and people don’t think a lot about them. I think nowadays it is becoming better and people appreciate the job of defending a lot more. But goalscorers earn more money and they get more attention. That’s how it’s always been and that’s how it’s going to be in the future. And looking at the world now, I think Messi is still the best player. If you look at the Ballon d’Or and winning the trophy, I think the right decision was to give it to Messi. I would have liked to give it to Virgil because I think he’s done great. It’s not that I don’t want him to win it, but I think Messi and what he is doing year in, year out, scoring goals and creating goals with the pressure he’s under, I think he deserves it.

Virgil has been very good. But the thing that people don’t always understand is that the team-mates you have around you make you very good as well. As a player you need to have the ability and the quality to get to the top and that’s what he has, but having quality people around you sometimes makes life a little bit easier for you as well and it makes you look like you are one of the best in the world. That was the same for myself and for other good centre-backs. That’s how it goes in football. Virgil is one of the best in the world right now. He’s been doing great and his route from Scotland, to Southampton and then to Liverpool has been ideal for him. I think he’s adjusted to every level and that tells you something about his mentality as well

To be one of the greats, you have to produce these performances year in, year out and to stay at that level for several years. I think by playing at Liverpool with these players around him and being very decisive for his team, it will make Virgil an even better player. Playing against big teams in the Premier League, but also the best in the Champions League makes you a better player. By learning from that you will get better and better. It’s very important that you don’t think ‘I am one of the best so I don’t need to learn anymore’. No, you can’t do that. You have to be realistic and continue to learn from every game and I think that’s what Virgil’s doing

2020 05 08 Retrieve

[The end of tiki-taka and gegenpressing? Football’s next tactical revolution] I don’t think it’s going to change within a couple of years. But I still think the most important thing is the manager and how he wants to play. As a manager you have to go to a club, look at your squad and the quality of the players and then pick a certain way of playing. The likes of Klopp and Guardiola have the opportunity to buy their own team in terms of how they want to play. At the big clubs where a lot of money can be spent, they also look at the league they are playing in and the type of football that can get results. If you look at Pep, he wants to play possession football, but he learnt as well that in the Premier League sometimes he got caught out on the break and conceded goals. So now he’s choosing to sometimes drop in a bit more and wait for the right time to press and win the ball and then go on the break himself

[Stam, who resigned as Feyenoord boss in October, may have played under the likes of Sir Alex Ferguson, Carlo Ancelotti and Roberto Mancini during his playing days, but he still believes in the possession-based style that he was brought up with as a child in the Netherlands]

I’m not a fan of copying. I like my teams to play possession football, to get the ball and move it quickly if the opportunity is there to create chances and score goals. When you are playing and go into management you start creating your own philosophy and your own way of thinking. Of course you will think about some of the managers you’ve had in your career and how they approached the game or training sessions, but I’ve rarely used that for myself

When I joined Reading I spent a lot of time watching them as the deal was getting closer and closer. I looked at how they played and saw they played a lot in 4-4-2, they very direct and without trying to keep possession. So when I went over there we started from day one to try and drill our way of thinking into the squad. A lot of games it worked out, sometimes of course it didn’t but that’s normal with every team when you try and play a certain way. It’s always a bit of a gamble in terms of how it will work out. Will the players like it? Will they start to feel confident? But we made it a thing for the players to enjoy and they started to believe in it. At the beginning of the season it was not the easiest, but eventually it became easier and easier for them and we won a lot of games that first season

[The way the art of goalkeeping has changed in recent years mirrors the shift] There’s a lot more to come. I think coaches are going to be thinking more and more about tactics over the next few years. With respect to previous managers who did very well and won lots of trophies, the game is changing all the time. Players are becoming quicker, they are athletes now compared to years ago and there is more at stake in terms of money. So people are thinking more and more about tactics and what can be done

2020 05 09 Retrieve

[Jaap Stam says Fernandes has given Man Utd ‘extra dimension’ but they still need more quality to compete] There was a lot of talk about Ole when he came. He had that great run, then when he signed his contract and lost certain games people were a little bit sceptical about the choice. But I think everyone at the club knew that the players who had come in needed time to adjust to the club, the pressure of playing for the club and what Ole wanted to do. Now you see players are getting used to the way of playing and by bringing in Fernandes, a quality player, it’s given them that extra dimension of creativity going forward which makes it easier at times for other players to get on the ball and get into scoring positions. So I’m delighted for Ole that it’s getting better and better. Unfortunately for him it’s stopped now because for the last period of the season they were looking very good.

Against City they have had a good run of results. But you can’t look at individual games and say we can go for winning the league because we’ve beaten them several times. I think you need to be very stable as a team throughout the whole league, which Liverpool is. You need to play in a certain way now and build your squad in a certain way, then eventually you can build that challenge for winning the league again. If I look at it now, I think they still need some more quality players in the squad to make that challenge

2020 05 11 Retrieve

[Jaap Stam says Some Pogba criticism unfair] I would love to see Paul stay because I think he’s a quality player. People expect a lot from him and there’s a lot of criticism towards him. Sometimes you can say that’s fair but other times the criticism he gets is not correct. I don’t know what’s going to happen, of course. He needs to get fit first but I would be happy if he did stay and played another season. Pogba is a player who is creative, who wants to play a little bit in his own way, and sometimes you need to give him that little bit of freedom. If you look at Fernandes, Pogba and McTominay, I think those three together in midfield could be very interesting. Fernandes could play at No.10 and Pogba could play as one of the two sitting midfield players. He has the legs to go forward as well so you could play with two attacking midfield players if things are going well, but otherwise he can drop next to McTominay and they could play with just one No.10. Pogba has the legs to run from box to box, so if he can do that it will give him more of the freedom he wants to play. I think it would be very interesting

2020 05 19 Retrieve

[Feyenoord starlet Orkun Kokcu has scored two goals and added a further four assists in 22 games this season for the Eredivisie giants. And Manchester United legend Jaap Stam reckons the youngster has the ability to play for the Premier League giants] He would need to adjust because the step to Arsenal and the Premier League is totally different when you compare it to Holland. The pace of the game, the quality, the intensity is a lot higher. But he has the ability

He is a player who has the personality to want to improve, he always wants to do better. He’s never happy with himself, he’s disappointed if he doesn’t score, or if his passes aren’t good enough. Now he’s proving himself in Holland and is one of the best midfield players in the country. He’s certainly got the ability to make that step to the Premier League

2020 05 21 Retrieve

[Cincinnati make picture blunder in announcing former Man Utd defender Jaap Stam as new coach] For myself, to get the opportunity to work in America and to work in MLS for a club like FC Cincinnati, it’s a dream. I’ve always liked the country and I’ve always liked the mentality of the people in the States as well in what they’re trying to achieve. To get the opportunity to work for this project by building the club - hopefully even further than where they already are, because I think they’ve already done a great job - but being a presence as a team, even more in MLS, getting results and working together with the fans and everybody already working within the club, for me it’s a big challenge to do well

2020 05 22 Retrieve

[Jaap Stam saw the funny side of FC Cincinnati’s photo blunder when confirming his appointment] Everything was going well and I know you’re aiming a little bit at this picture that came out. Yesterday [Thursday] was a busy day, a hard day, a lot of talking and a lot of meetings, so eventually we used a doppelganger to do the picture

At a certain time we need to have a bit of a laugh. If we play against each other and we come out on top with a win, then we can have a laugh - that’s what we’re trying to do.

2020 05 23 Retrieve

[Jaap Stam tweet blunder only highlights size of FC Cincinnati’s MLS rebuild] A lot of people with no hair, in Holland, sometimes they say: ‘There’s Jaap!’ It’s a thing that’s quite normal

2020 05 23b Retrieve

[Stam tweet blunder only highlights size of FC Cincinnati’s MLS rebuild] At Feyenoord, we made certain agreements but then things changed. So I made the decision that it’d be better for someone else to step in because what we agreed on totally changed

As a head coach if you’re looking for a job, can you get an opportunity that’s worthwhile? The kind of project where you can develop, grow yourself even more and help the club to become a big piece in a big league. I think FC Cincinnati is that club. I’m very happy they came out with myself and I’m the head coach of FC Cincinnati.

2020 05 26 Retrieve

[fellow Dutchman Jaap Stam says Nobody believed in Van Dijk - now he’s a leader] It’s very good to see another Dutch defender going to that height and developing himself a certain way because with Virgil as well in the beginning of his career, even when he played in Holland for Groningen, nobody believed in him or looked at him as a top defender. The big teams in Holland didn’t want to buy him and then he made the choice to go to Scotland to play for Celtic. His development over there was great playing in a different league, a very tough league, good players, becoming a better player for himself for the team. It also helps as well the players that you’ve got around you, they need to help you out at certain times as well to become a better player so you can learn and you can express yourself a lot more. Then he made the step to the Premier League to Southampton, again, tough league, better league than the Scottish league, better players around him, also against him, and of course it is great development and tells you something about him, how he is as a person, as a player. It needs to be in yourself as a player that you want to develop yourself, you need to learn from situations that you’re in, and he’s done that. And now at Liverpool again, big step, big club, a lot of quality players, he’s a big leader in that team but, of course, the other players around him help him out as well. It’s a very good combination and it’s good to see that he’s also performing in the national team as well.

2020 05 28 Retrieve

[Should Solskjaer want to deploy a more attacking formation, then a 4-3-3 with Pogba and Fernandes playing slightly different] Pogba is a player who is creative, who wants to play a little bit in his own way, and sometimes you need to give him that little bit of freedom

2020 06 29 Retrieve

[Jaap Stam has revealed that David Beckham tried to intervene to prevent the Netherlands international centre-back being sold by Manchester United to Lazio] Just after I arrived in Rome, I got a call from David Beckham. The United squad had spoken about it, and he expressed the general feeling among them that I should stay. My departure was a big blow to everyone, as nobody expected it to happen. It was nice to hear that from him, and it showed how close we were as a group. That made it tough to leave, but given the situation at the time, I felt it was better for me to go

When a paper buys the rights to publish extracts from a book, they can make up their own headlines - and that was what troubled me. It kept me awake at night, as I was wondering what would be in the paper the following day. Initially, Ferguson had told me not to worry about it, but on Wednesday - the morning of the match - I was informed that I should report for talks with him the next day, because he wasn’t happy about some of it. After the game, I went home and reported the next morning at 8am, because I was keen to resolve the matter. I said, ‘You know what’s in the book - nothing bad’. But he maintained that he wasn’t happy. A week later, I was left out for a game against Blackburn. On the day, he called me to say I wasn’t in his squad because of the book hassle. He felt it might calm down if I wasn’t playing. We had a few conversations, although none of them were really satisfactory.

A bit later that week, I was driving home from training when my agent phoned, telling me I’d been sold. I was like: ‘What?!’ He said, ‘Yeah, they’ll contact you in a minute’. Moments later, Ferguson called me and asked where I was. We lived in the same area, and he told me to wait for him so that we could have a chat. I pulled into a petrol station and he met me there. When he arrived, he got in my car and told me that the club had accepted an offer from Lazio. It was a big shock

2020 06 30 Retrieve

[Jaap Stam: I wasn’t supposed to take penalty at Euro 2000] I think everybody within the squad thought we could’ve done it. You need to keep your head cool but we missed the penalties otherwise we would’ve been there and could’ve won the tournament. Before that game, I wasn’t even on the list to take a penalty. And then during the game, people get subbed, sometimes because of injury or players at the end of the game don’t feel fit and sometimes it’s too much tension because of the importance of the game. I was a little bit nervy but I said ‘Yeah okay, I’ll do it,’ and in your head, you have the same idea as training, you take it with decent force and pace. But I hit it too much underneath the ball and it hit the crossbar - looks like it goes out the stadium, it was very disappointing at the time, unfortunately, I missed

[Italy won the shootout 3-1 and the Netherlands were knocked out on their home turf] I think everybody within the squad thought we could’ve done it. You need to keep your head cool but we missed the penalties otherwise we would’ve been there and could’ve won the tournament. The Dutch people expected us to win, if you look at the squad, we had a lot of quality within that team. By playing in your own country, it brings a little bit extra in terms of performing - but like everyone knows, we lost on penalties and it was really frustrating

[If the Dutch had beaten the Italians, they would have faced the French in the final] They (France) were happy they didn’t have to play against us again. We needed to beat the Italians but they were tough. The ability and quality in the team, for some reason we didn’t get everything out of it. I went as far as I possibly could from Europe [after the tournament]. I went to America on a holiday but you’re confronted by so many people about it. They were all talking about my penalty. I think when you get to a certain level in professional football, people will a lot of times confront you with only the negative things