Has Louis Van Gaal’s puzzle finally found its solution? In search of guarantees in the goals since he took over the Dutch selection in August 2021, the former coach of FC Barcelona and Bayern Munich has continued to multiply the tests to find the ideal goalkeeper. It was finally towards Andries Noppert, a novice at the international level that the choice of the historic leader of Dutch men fell.
Exit Tim Krul and Jasper Cillessen, regulars in the position since 2013, therefore make way for the current goalkeeper of SC Heerenveen. At 28, and with just over fifty professional matches, Andries Noppert is the big Batavian surprise of this fall. And the giant was quick to justify the confidence placed in him by coach Louis Van Gaal.
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However, the course of the last rampart of the Oranje clearly resembles one hell of an obstacle course. Trained in Heerenveen, Noppert struggled a lot before emerging in the eyes of the general public. Eternal substitute during his first seasons, passed by Italy and Foggia, in Serie B, the Batavian even experienced unemployment after a mixed passage in Dordrecht in 2020.
While his family advises him to hang up, Noppert hangs on. It is finally Go Ahead Eagles which gives him his chance in January 2021. Like a semblance of last hope to finally launch a more than purring career. Within the mythical Deventer club, Noppert is patient. Before winning his starting spot in the middle of last season after the departure of his Surinamese competitor Warner Hahn.
Author of a big start to the season with Heerenveen, whom he found during the last summer transfer window, the 28-year-old goalkeeper continues to impress. “We saw him as a good signing for Heerenveen, but to see him at this level was totally unexpected. He came here in the luggage of Kees van Wonderen, the manager who gave him his chance at Go Ahead», explains Réon Boeringa, journalist at Voetbal International.
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With six clean sheets over the first fourteen Eredivisie days, Andries Noppert has finished convincing Louis Van Gaal who had already called him up with the Oranje for the Nations League in September. A surprising decision for our colleague. “His call-up for the tournament was already surprising. That he was started for the first game was an even bigger surprise…“
Never appeared in the orange tunic before Monday and the first match of the World Cup against Senegal (0-2), the Superfriezen goalkeeper made a very good copy for his baptism of fire. “His lack of international experience was worrying, but he did very well against Senegal, so he backed up Van Gaal’s move“, analyzes the one who follows Heerenveen and the player on a daily basis.
Reassuring, cataloged as a “shot-stopper”, Noppert almost contrasts with the profile of the modern goalkeeper as detailed by Roen Boeringa. “His size allows him to shine in the air and he has an ability to fetch the ball which is quite impressive. He has good reflexes, he is strong one-on-one. He has more foot pain on the other hand…“
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It is however a long recovery of the slender doorman, the tallest player of this World Cup with his 2.03m, which made it possible to put his people under cover on Monday. Even if his kicking game is not the most reliable, Louis Van Gaal was clear on the choice of Noppert. “I selected it to stop balloons. He is a goalkeeper, and his role is to stop balls. Is it a risk to play Noppert? I started van der Sar well when he was 19…“, launched the coach, accustomed to the blows of Trafalgar, before the match between the Lions of Teranga and the Oranje.
Because “LVG” has still struggled to find the right formula in the cages since his return. It must be said that the Dutch staff surprised when the players selected were announced at the beginning of the month, not hesitating to snub Flekken, in good shape with Friborg and especially Cillessen, in difficulty since his departure from Ajax in 2016 . “Cillessen has always done a good job and we expected him to be there. His exclusion is still a complete mystery, given that the reasons given by Van Gaal are at least debatable.“, elected journalist of VI.
But the first outing of novice Noppert seems to give reason to the former Bayern Munich coach who first favored form, as our colleague points out. “Noppert was selected thanks to his good performances this season with Heerenveen. This form was the decisive factor in the choice of Van Gaal.” A confidence for the moment justified by the new darling of the Netherlands for whom the dream only asks to continue.
Andries Noppert during the match between the Netherlands and Senegal at the 2022 World Cup.
Credit: Getty Images
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