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All-time XI: The best Dutch players to have ever played in the Premier League

The likes of Dennis Bergkamp, Ruud van Nistelrooij, Edwin van der Sar, and Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink highlight a Dutch XI brimming with attacking talent in all areas of the pitch while many names will forver go down in Premier League lore


Due to the current international break, 101 Great Goals wanted to pay homage to the many foreign players that have helped build the Premier League into what it is today. Next stop, and just across the North Sea from East Anglia, the Netherlands. A nation that not only has played a direct hand in the history of England but has provided the Premier League with players that were a cut above the rest.

Even though household names such as Marc Overmars, Boudewijn Zenden, and John Heitinga did not make the list, a trip down memory lane while being draped in a Dutch flag will draw on fond memories for quite a few fanbases across the top flight of English football.


GK: Edwin van der Sar (Fulham, Manchester United)

One of the best goalkeepers seen anywhere across the Premier League’s timeline, Edwin van der Sar arrived at Manchester United in 2005 on the back of four seasons at Craven Cottage with Fulham while quickly being viewed as one of the best - if not the best - shot-stopper in the country. While at Old Trafford, Van der Sar helped the club to eleven honors, including four league titles and a Champions League win in 2007-08; the second of his glistening career.

RB: Mario Melchiot (Chelsea, Birmingham City, Wigan Athletic)

Perhaps given a nod on account of a true lack of options from a Dutch perspective, Mario Melchiot was nevertheless a mainstay for Chelsea between 1999-2004 in the wake of his arrival from Ajax Amsterdam before going on to make 130 Premier League appearances for the Blues while also bagging an FA Cup along the way. Further stints with Birmingham City and Wigan Athletic were far less fruitful but he remained just as influential nonetheless.

CB: Jaap Stam (Manchester United)

Regarded as one of the best defenders of his generation in the Netherlands, if not across Europe, Jaap Stam was already a household name due to his stint with PSV Eindhoven before rocking up to Manchester United in 1998 before spending three full seasons at Old Trafford that amounted to three league titles, an FA Cup triumph, and that famous night in Munich. Capable of slotting in at left-back as well as center-back, his influence in the United team was undeniable.

CB: Virgil van Dijk (Southampton, Liverpool)

Still plying his trade under Jürgen Klopp at Anfield, Van Dijk has written his name into Liverpool lore time and time again as arguably one of the most impressive center-backs in the club’s history, not just in the Premier League era. Though he has struggled of late, his commanding presence, confidence on the ball, leadership qualities, and ability to perform in the biggest matches has been central to the Reds since his arrival from Southampton in 2018 after establishing his reputation on the south coast.

LB: Giovanni van Bronckhorst (Arsenal)

One of a few nominees who did not enjoy long periods in the Premier League, Giovanni van Bronckhorst was an excellent servant for Arsenal across two seasons after his arrival from Glasgow Rangers. His impact was immediate as well, with Arsenal going on to win the Premier League (2000-01) and two FA Cups during his short stay. The emergence of Ashley Cole cut short his involvement, but his inclusion is certainly justified.

CM: Giorginio Wijnaldum (Newcastle United, Liverpool)

More familiar to many fans on account of his period in the league being more recent, Gini Wijnaldum was part of a Liverpool core under Jürgen Klopp that achieved immense success between 2018-19 after securing a Premier League win as well as finding success in the FA Cup, League Cup, and the Champions League. An excellent box-to-box midfielder who could chip in on the goals, Wijnaldum remains highly thought of on Tyneside as well as Merseyside.

CM: Rafael van der Vaart (Tottenham Hotspur)

Though his stint in the Premier League only lasted two years, gifted Dutch midfielder Rafael van der Vaart endeared himself to Tottenham fans the world over for twenty-four months with creativity and goalscoring stylings of all types while at White Hart Lane. With 24 goals in just 63 appearances, his connection with Gareth Bale on the pitch constituted one of the league’s most-feared attacking duos for good reason.

CAM: Dennis Bergkamp (Arsenal)

Nicknamed ‘The Ice Man’ because of how ice cold he was under pressure and ruthless when putting defenses to the sword, Netherlands legend Dennis Bergkamp is the most talented Dutch footballer to ever grace the playing surfaces across the Premier League during his spell with Arsenal. His metamorphosis from goalscorer to creative genius was brilliant to watch from a biased perspective, and a few of his goals remain the best in league history. Like Thierry Henry, he deserved his statue.

RF: Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink (Leeds United, Chelsea, Middlesbrough, Charlton Athletic)

On his day, Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink was an elite striker if there ever was one, particularly during his high-water mark with Leeds United and Chelsea, averaging a goal every other game across both stints before eventually moving on to Middlesbrough where he still found the back of the neck on a regular basis. The proud owner of a lethal drive from range, Hasselbaink was a fantastic advert for Dutch attacking prowess.

CF: Ruud van Nistelrooij (Manchester United)

One of a very small few that could stand toe-to-toe with Thierry Henry at the top of the goalscoring pile in the Premier League, Van Nistelrooij hit the ground running after his arrival from PSV Eindhoven and eclipse the 20-goal mark in four of his five seasons at Old Trafford, with the singular failure to do so on account of a serious injury that saw him miss half of the 2004-05 campaign. A brilliant goalscorer.

LF: Robin van Persie (Arsenal, Manchester United)

A contentious figure if there ever was one among Arsenal fans, the all-time leading scorer for the Netherlands at international level was beloved in north London after developing under Arsène Wenger to one of the most feared strikers on the planet before ultimately moving to Manchester United in order to win major honors. All told, his 144 goals between both stints are hard to argue with, including a final season at Arsenal that saw him hit 30 goals in the league.


Read below for more All-time XI’s

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The best French players to have ever played in the Premier League

Andrew Thompson

US-based Football writer. German football guru with a wealth of experience in youth development and analysis. Data aficionado. Happily championing the notion that Americans have a knowledgeable voice in the beautiful game.


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