Roord the candidate for vacant Miedema? ‘I also like to get into the ball, just like Viev’

Roord the candidate for vacant Miedema? ‘I also like to get into the ball, just like Viev’
Jill Roord in action against Norway last October

NOS Soccer

It’s been a while since Jill Roord got to dress in orange. Due to injury, she missed the practice matches of the Dutch national team in November and February. But now she has reported to Zeist for another training camp led by national coach Andries Jonker, who is trying to get the team ready for next summer’s World Cup.

“I missed those two periods and that feels very long,” said Roord, who qualified for the semifinals of the Champions League last week with VfL Wolfsburg at the expense of Paris Saint-Germain. “I have to say I’ve been really looking forward to this.”

But it took some getting used to, confesses the capable midfielder. “It’s a completely different way of playing. And also of training. Here it’s much more with the ball and focused on soccer. In Germany it’s a bit more about work.”

Degree meter

Speaking of Germany, that will be the Orange’s first of two practice opponents on Friday. “Half my team plays on that squad,” she says with a smile. “Germany is obviously one of the favorites at the World Cup. They have a very good selection. It’s also a team that is in shape. So that will be a very good gauge for us.”

Jill Roord (right) in duel with PSG player Kheira Hamraoui

National coach Jonker is equally happy that the entire group is back together. “It’s nice that we can get back to work, that we can train and see each other and that we can play matches to see how we progress.”

It will be modeling the team, as the successor to Mark Parsons, who left after the disappointing European Championship, calls it. “There is no more time to try things out with playmakers. Although there will still be a battle here and there by some player who has to prove that in the end she has to be on the field.”

Battle for spots

“We are allowed to take 23 players to the World Cup. I think fifteen, sixteen names can be filled in, but behind that it’s a fight for spots. It’s still a long way to the World Cup, but this week you can start taking advantage as a player. Although that doesn’t mean you will play in the first game against Portugal.”

National coach Jonker: ‘No more time to try out players’

Wieke Kaptein and Sisca Folkertsma are two notable names in the group he has called up for the international matches against Germany (Friday, April 7) and Poland (Tuesday, April 11). The first – only 17 years old – is completely new, the other back after a long absence.

“I saw Wieke in the Super Cup final in September,” Jonker explained his choice. “Back then she was already one of the most important players at FC Twente. And three-quarters of a year later she still is. It’s not about how old you are, but how good you are. Right now, she deserves to be singled out. Especially now that there is space in the group due to Jackie Groenen’s injury. We will see how she stands. Without pressure.”

Folkertsma, like Kaptein a midfielder, is a different story. “I watched Iceland-Netherlands led by Parsons and she played fine. My staff also went to France, although she doesn’t always play at Bordeaux because she might leave. She is also not in the spot there where we would like to see her. But she is coming back from a second cruciate ligament injury and was a fine player before that. We can see something from her now.”

Good on the ball

Roord seems to have little left to prove. The only discussion that might exist about the 25-year-old from Oldenzaal is about her position. “We haven’t talked about that yet,” she reveals when asked. “We do agree on what type of player I am.”

The 17-year-old FC Twente player Wieke Kaptein

“I am good on the ball and can play well in small space. One game it’s more from the axis and other times more from the side, when the axis is ‘tight’, for example. That also depends on the opponent and how dominant we are. But the most important thing is that I just get on the ball.”

Now that it is clear that Vivianne Miedema will not recover from her cruciate ligament injury in time, there is also a vacancy in the striker. Jonker can choose Lineth Beerensteyn (Juventus), Fenna Kalma (FC Twente) or Romée Leuchter (Ajax), but Miedema herself, on the other hand, sees a lot of herself in Roord.

“That’s right, I can play there too. And I also like to get into the ball, just like ‘Viev’. That in turn means there is room for depth at other positions. It’s just what we want per game. Anyway, it doesn’t matter what position I play, as long as I play.”

Kayleigh Williams