Friday, February 24, 2012

Oh, Gertjan!

AZ boss Gertjan Verbeek is again playing politics over Jozy Altidore's removal from the line-up, which is quite odd as he may be forced into starting the American over injured turbo-donkey Charlison Benschop.

The always entertaining mind-warper manager told reporters that Altidore had been benched because he wasn't showing progress at the time - of course, the guy charged with eliciting progress sitting him cures that problem right up.

The best part, though, is the part that lets you know beyond any doubt that Verbeek is playing angles. He says verbatim:

"The team functions better with Charlie, everyone sees that."

Erm... what now? Surely, Verbeek is aware that reporters and fans have been openly questioning this maneuver for weeks now. And I don't just mean, here and there, hey what's up with that? I mean, many of these observers have been questioning the decision ad nauseum to his face, after practically every game - even the one where Benschop hit a hat trick against complicit pushovers ADO Den Haag. The midweek Eredivisie discussion show has kicked up this topic about five or six times now, and the studio analysts get into it after every AZ match.

Gertjan, Gertjan, Gertjan. To your credit, you faithfully stick to whatever gambit you're running, but these chops are made for bustin'. Now let's see who you start against white-hot Heerenveen this weekend. Talk is cheap when you're having a laugh.

- Greg Seltzer


corky said...


Can you give a little more detail on this? I haven't been following that closely, but it sounds like most people want Jozy to start. Is Benschop worthless? Honestly, when you call him a "turbo-donkey", what does that mean?

Much appreciated. I haven't been able to follow this situation too well.

Greg Seltzer said...

Turbo = very fast.

Donkey = works hard and plays physical, but is aimless tactically with poor technique on top of it.

Benschop has more worth on the wing, where he can chase lead passes all day (which is all he wants to do anyway). But even there he's got a long way to go to be a solid player.

And yes, most everyone here has been badgering Verbeek over this for a while now.

corky said...

Thanks. What political game is Verbeek playing? I always liked the guy for developing MB90.

Thomas said...


I believe the technical term is "turbo Heskey" but I supposed Heskey and Donkey are interchangeable.

pete said...

If that's the case, i would rather have Benschop.

Benschop - very fast, works hard and plays physical, but is aimless tactically with poor technique on top of it.

Altidore - slow, doesn't work very hard, aimless tactically with poor technique on top of it

Greg Seltzer said...

@ corky: He does these little mind games to challenge players. Then, of course, he cannot come out and say to reporters "Oh yes, I'm playing a mind game to challenge him" - he has to keep up the ruse. It's nothing new for Verbeek, he's well known for this stuff and just for being a quirky guy in general.

@ Thomas: You took the name right out of my brain. Yes, Heskey used to mean donkey in all languages.

@ pete: You clearly have not watched Jozy play this season. He is greatly improved both tactically and technically, and has always been a vastly underrated passer at forward. While he's no roadrunner, slow is far too harsh a word for him, and he gains "speed" by being so strong on the run. As for not working hard in matches, that's old news at best, if not nonsense.

Lampard in the End Zone said...


Agreed on all counts about Altidore. His hold up play has been spectacular with his distribution after settling almost on par. He needs to improve on making runs (get the man some Chicharito film) but I have been impressed with his form so far, even as the goals are not coming as quickly.

Greg Seltzer said...

Twice the other night, Jozy had an easy finish goal with a simple set-up pass, but Beerens chose both times to shoot instead. The first time, Jozy didn't say anything. The second time, he bitched Beerens out pretty good.

Yeah, I think he's ready to take his place back. This is not your slightly older brother's Jozy.

dikranovich said...

i wonder how many goals jozy would score if he were starting for ajax? how many goals does the jozy have this season?

Greg Seltzer said...

There's no telling how many he'd have. Maybe even double the 11 he has now. Sigthorsson's injury absence has been the main disruptor of the Ajax program this season.

That may seem a wild fantasy exaggeration total, but let's remember Ajax created danger and chances almost at will at Manchester United with half the team made up of kids and no proper striker. Playing up top for Ajax is a plum job, indeed.