Daniëlle van de Donk: A look at her past after 100 national team appearances
Photo by Alex Grimm/Getty Images

Daniëlle van de Donk: A look at her past after 100 national team appearances

The midfielder made her 100th appearance against Russia on Tuesday

amillington
Adam Millington

International Career

After her appearances against Slovakia and Russia in this international window, with the second being played in front of a bumper crowd in Eindhoven, Van de Donk joins an exclusive list of 'Oranjeleeuwinnen' players with 100 or more caps, now only four off her team's manager Sarina Weigman, who was the first to hit that total. She has managed to score over 15 goals so far.

Van de Donk made her first appearance for the national team as a fresh-faced 19-year-old at the  2010 City of São Paulo Tournament. At the event, the Netherlands finished with a bronze medal after beating Mexico in the third-place-playoff.

She scored her first goal in a 2013 European Championship qualifying match versus Serbia women and went on to cement herself a place in a Dutch side that was growing in the Women's Football space. She was selected for that year's Euros in Sweden and was able to retain her national team spot for the 2015 World Cup in Canada.

When Weigman took the reigns of the Lionesses in 2016, the side made major improvements. National morale was low going into the 2017 Euros in the Netherlands, and she focused on making the side play more free-flowing, attacking the football. The Dutch ended up winning every single match of the tournament, culminating in a 4-2 defeat of Denmark in the final. Van de Donk played a major role in the squad, netting in the semi-final against England and helping to link up the play between the rest of the side and an extremely promising youngster called Vivianne Miedema upfront, who soon rose to fame in the country as one of the world's top players. After the trophy win, the squad were all made Knights of Orange-Nassau, a title similar to that of an OBE in Britain.

Since 2017, the squad has grown in leaps and bounds and are now one of the strongest in the Women's game. Van de Donk was one of the members of the team which competed in the 2019 FIFA Women's World Cup finals, reaching a silver-place finish - only losing out to the USA.

Arsenal

She moved to England in 2015 to join Arsenal. The side who were then in a WSL that was not completely professional won the FA Women's Cup in their first season with Van de Donk playing. She started that final at Wembley Stadium, with her side beating Chelsea 1-0 to earn their 14thFA Cup title. Last year, she scored 14 in a season in which she played 27 games.

The club has attracted a number of Dutch internationals both in the past and currently. Sari Van Veenendaal and Dominique Bloodworth both departed this summer after the side won the FAWSL last year. It was the aforementioned Miedema who helped to blast the side to that title in the 18/19 season, scoring more than one goal in every single match that season whilst still being in her early twenties. Van de Donk is now one of the top players in the WSL and has already scored two in her three appearances this year, including a last-minute winner away from home to Manchester United on a Monday night.

Van de Donk and Miedema were joined by Jill Roord this summer, another midfielder to help bolster the side's ability in an attempt to improve their chances of retaining the WSL title and performing well in the Champions League for the first time in years.

Before England

Willem II

Van de Donk started her senior footballing career 11 years ago in 2008, playing for Eredivisie side Willem II Vrouwen. The then 17-year-old joined after spending her time in youth football at local third division side VV UNA, only three miles from the stadium of PSV Eindhoven, the club that Daniëlle supported as a child, and the ground that she made her 100th career international appearance at on Tuesday night.

The Tricolours are based in Tilburg, only a stone's throw away from her native Eindhoven. Spending four seasons there, she featured in 47 competitive league games, notching three for the club in the process. The squad finished seventh, second, and third twice over the four years that they spent in the Dutch top flight, before many changes to the country’s footballing system in advance of the 2011/12 campaign. It was in her time at Willem that she made her International debut for the Netherlands, in December of 2010 at the City of Sao Paulo Tournament against Mexico.

Whilst the league pyramid was being changed in the summer of 2011, it was a calamitous season for the men’s side which saw them finish rock bottom of the Eredivisie with only fifteen points, culminating in relegation. As is often the case in the women’s game, the club’s board needed to free up funds and they saw fit that the best way to do that would be to disband the strong women’s side, in the hope of allowing the men’s team to get back to the top flight (which they achieved that season). 

VVV-Venlo
With Van de Donk clubless, she moved eastwards and to the town of Venlo, situated only a handful of miles from the Dutch-German border to spend another season improving her trade in the Netherlands’ top women’s division.

In a campaign which saw her play 18 matches and score eight, Venlo finished fifth out of the eight teams in their league before the creation of the BeNe League. In her only season at the club, she was Venlo’s top scorer and was part of a side that reached the Netherlands’ KNVB Women's Cup. Although they suffered a 5-2 defeat to ADO Den Haag, Van de Donk impressively scored four in a 14-0 away win at VV Oostkapelle and was the only scorer in their semifinal win which went all the way to penalties.

However, Venlo suffered a similar fate to Willem at the end of that season. Thinking that their team would not be able to keep up with the high quality and standards perceived to be brought in with the incorporation of the BeNe league in 2012/13, the team disbanded and all players moved to PSV Eindhoven


PSV
At the summer of 2012, Van de Donk moved back west to Eindhoven, the team she had not only supported since being a young girl, but also the one which she would end up making her 100th appearance at the ground of. At PSV, she was the top scorer in all of her seasons at the club.

PSV Vrouwen was a joint side between the city’s two main clubs - FC Eindhoven and PSV. The club was founded in the season that she joined, with them competing in the BeNe League. The division was an unorthodox one compared to the normal footballing world, a joint venture from the Football Associations of Belgium and the Netherlands to try to improve both nation’s talent. The distance between the two countries softened the blow, however, as distances to travel were still often shorter than in a number of other European divisions. 

At the club, she once again reached the final of the KNVB Cup, this time being second best to Ajax in Amsterdam in the 2013/14 season. Van de Donk netted PSV’s only goal of the game in the 53rd minute, but she was bettered by Mandy Versteegt who slotted in a brace for the Champions. With the end of the BeNe League, she departed the Netherlands for the first time so far in her footballing career.

Goteborg

Before she made the move to England to join Arsenal, 'DvD' spent nearly six months in Sweden, playing for Damallsvenskan side Kopparbergs/Göteborg FC.

She netted four in the 13 appearances that she made in Sweden, with her side eventually finishing directly mid-table in their league on 32 points, still far from the UEFA Women's Champions League spaces available to them.
 

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