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Key To Holland's Success: Orlando Engelaar

orlando engelaar Key To Holland's Success: Orlando EngelaarWatching the Holland against Italy match earlier this week in Bern, the biggest relevation for me was seeing how Orlando Engelaar mastered the midfield for the Netherlands. The tall, lanky Dutchman was a key part of Holland’s success.Playing in the center of the park, the 28-year-old FC Twente midfielder dictated possession. He masterminded many of Holland’s attacks by playing key throughballs to the Dutch wingers and attackers. And when Italy charged forward, Engelaar quickly stifled their attacks oftentimes heading the ball away by outjumping Luca Toni.Incredibly, Engelaar only has 7 caps for Holland. He played his first match for the Dutch just last June, and he is one of the tallest players in the Eredivisie. Not surprisingly, Engelaar is captain of his club side FC Twente.orlando engelaar heatmap Key To Holland's Success: Orlando EngelaarWhen I reviewed Engelaar’s statistics at the Castrol Performance Index site, I was surprised by how much ground the midfielder covered. As you can see in the image, Engelaar covered almost every blade of the pitch and even advanced into the far corners of the field.In the heat map, you can see that he concentrated his efforts in the middle of the park, but he also tended to play more on the left but left the right side of the pitch alone.According to the same stats site, he covered 11,143 metres in the game (second only to teammate Rafael Van der Vaardt). That’s the equivalent of almost seven miles!orlando engelaar heatmap 2 Key To Holland's Success: Orlando EngelaarIf you take a look at Engelaar’s heatmap from Friday’s match against France (also from the Castrol Performance Index site), you can see that he focused more of his time in the center of the pitch and rarely traversed into other areas. Whether this was part of Holland’s tactics or maybe France prevented Engelaar from moving out of his position is unclear, but the data is interesting indeed.It’ll be interesting to see how Engelaar develops during the rest of the tournament. If I was one of the Premier League scouts, I’d be contacting his club in the next few days to see if there’s a possibility of signing this player. He seems to have everything. He’s fantastic in the air, calm under pressure, has wonderful passing abilities and excellent ball skills.

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About Christopher Harris

Founder and publisher of World Soccer Talk, Christopher Harris is the managing editor of the site. He has been interviewed by The New York Times, The Guardian and several other publications. Plus he has made appearances on NPR, BBC World, CBC, BBC Five Live, talkSPORT and beIN SPORT. Harris, who has lived in Florida since 1984, has supported Swansea City since 1979. He's also an expert on soccer in South Florida, and got engaged during half-time of a MLS game. Harris launched EPL Talk in 2005, which was rebranded as World Soccer Talk in 2013.
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