With Arsenal Women since 2015, Daniëlle van de Donk has almost become part of the furniture at Meadow Park.
The Dutch midfielder was key in the club lifting the Women’s Super League in 2018/19, but has seen her time on the pitch somewhat reduced this year, with just seven starts from 12 games played, contributing with just the one goal and one assist.
That status, however, hasn’t translated with the Netherlands national team, where she remains one of the first names on the team sheet, as shown by her 81 minutes on the pitch against Belgium on Thursday from which they walked away with a 6-1 win.
Van de Donk scored her team’s fifth in that rout, playing in a slightly more attacking role than she does at Arsenal, which she talked about in a chat with NU.
She said: “I have to be more defensive at Arsenal and here I can play nicely as a ten. As a result, I feel much freer with the Netherlands at the moment. I feel the confidence of the staff and my teammates here, and that is good football”.
Was that not so subtle message aimed at Joe Montemurro?
Either way, the player also revealed it was ‘nice to be back in the Netherlands’, because in England, players ‘hardly go anywhere outside the training ground, so it’s nice to be with other people for a while, even if it’s just to speak Dutch’.