'I'm very proud to take this job at such an important time' - Reuser's role in helping Holland fire again
PUBLISHED: 06:00 05 July 2018 | UPDATED: 11:09 05 July 2018
Former Ipswich star Martijn Reuser is the new head coach of the Dutch Under 15 side. ANDY WARREN spoke to him about his first job as a manager.
With big name after big name sent tumbling out of the World Cup early, it’s easy to forget one of the game’s most iconic teams didn’t make it to Russia at all.
Germany, Spain, Portugal and Argentina are all out before the quarter-finals. It’s now fair to ask whether either Cristiano Ronaldo or Lionel Messi will be seen on the biggest stage of all again and to ask whether football really is coming home.
But for all the heartbreak of those who have exited the World Cup early, spare a thought for Holland.
The famous orange shirts have once again been absent from world football’s biggest stage this summer – and it’s now Martijn Resuer’s job to help get his country back to where they belong.
The former Ipswich midfielder is the newly-appointed head coach of the Dutch under 15 team and also assists with the under 19 side, with his new role coming at a time when the Dutch have been absent from both Euro 2016 and this summer’s tournement.
In a bid to get the national team firing again there has been a major shake-up in Holland’s international coaching set-up, with Ronald Koeman now in charge of the senior team and all age groups working together to help get the production line flowing once again.
For Reuser this represents an opportunity to take his first steps in management having served his apprenticeship on the youth side’s coaching staff.
It a job which excites him but he is well aware it is one which comes with great responsibility.
“It’s pretty disappointing for us not to be there at the World Cup,” said Reuser, who will also take on scouting duties for the Dutch national set-up.
“Two years ago we didn’t qualify for the European Championship and now we have not made it to the World Cup, so something is wrong.
“I am now in the national set-up and the manager of the Under 15s, so hopefully there can be some big changes in the next few years and we can qualify again.
“I’ve been coaching several different age groups and for the last four years have been assistant coach with the Under 15s and 16s, but there was a vacancy within the KNVB (Dutch FA) and after a good interview with the director I took on the job as head coach.
“I’m very proud to be doing that and it’s very important at a time when the Dutch national team is going downwards.
“So now the task for me is to work with the young players and help the team back towards the top level again in four or five years.
“We have been missing out some steps in terms of developing players and we need to get that back within the system.
“It’s already going the right way after we won the Under 17 European Championship in England this summer, and that’s really important and a little signal that we have some real talent within our country.
“It’s our job now as coaches to learn how to win internationally and maybe in three, four or five years time some of these young players can break into the Dutch squad.”
Reuser’s journey to his new role has seen him coach in the ADO Den Haag and NAC Breda youth systems since hanging up his boots in 2010, following an impressive career which saw him break through the Ajax youth system before his becoming a cult hero in Suffolk.
The 43-year-old thought long and hard before entering the world of coaching and remains unsure where his journey will ultimately take him or whether club management is something he would like to explore. So all he can do is instead concentrate on the job at hand.
“When I stopped playing football I took a year off to investigate what I really wanted to do and, to be honest, I wasn’t really dreaming to be a coach,” he said.
“I had to learn to be a coach and I told myself I should take some steps in the youth academies of professional clubs and that’s what I did.
“I can say after seven or eight years I am a really good coach but it certainly took me that long to know and believe I had the confidence to feel like that.
“It’s not up to me to say one day I will be a head coach at club level, say at Ipswich Town or Ajax, wherever. It’s up to the people in your environment to say you are the man for the job.
“I am trying to do my job and develop the young players then, maybe, in a few years time I might be a head coach of a club. I don’t know, though. That’s out of my hands.”