Big boots to fill
Van der Laan took the reins from Roger Reijners after the former MVV man stepped down after five years with the team that saw them qualify for their first ever World Cup as well as their second European Championships. Coming into the side after Reijners and equally as successful Vera Pauw (2004-2010), van der Laan had big shoes to fill, with less than two years to get his squad to a world class level ahead of Euro 2017.
Granted a pass as tournament hosts, Holland didn’t have to go through qualification but fans and pundits had ample time to see van der Laan in action through the mini qualification tournament for Rio as well as the handful of friendlies set up by the KNVB ahead of next summer.
But with a number of internationals opting to retire from the national team this year – notably well decorated centurion Manon Melis – the Netherlands team has often looked incomplete, and out of sync. A mixed bag of results and a growing wave of uncertainty have resulted in van der Laan’s dismissal with the KNVB siting “insufficient confidence” in the coach more known for his time with Sparta Rotterdam.
Van Breukelen has his say
Dutch technical director, Hans van Breukelen expressed his gratitude toward van der Laan for his “dedication” since his instillation, grateful for him for having taken the “first steps” in “development” towards Euro 2017. But van Breukelen and the Dutch FA are certain Arjan isn’t the right man for the job of leading the national team on home soil next year and will begin work to find his replacement in the new year.
In the interim assistant coach Sarina Wiegman – who was interim between Reijners’ and van der Laan’s tenure – has been asked to fill the role until a suitable replacement can be found.