Feyenoord lifted their sixteenth Eredivisie title just over a month ago, in what was another incredible season for Dutch football. With everything now wrapped up, it’s time for you, our readers, to vote for the best player in each position.
Firstly to the goalkeeper of the season. FC Twente’s Lars Unnerstall kept the most clean sheets (18) and had the highest save percentage in the league with 78.2%. That’s 0.01% higher than Sparta Rotterdam’s Nick Olij. The Sparta shot stopper finished second in the list for the most saves made, racking up a total of 144 saves. Feyenoord’s Justin Bijlow kept 12 clean sheets as his side went on to lift their 16th Eredivisie title. He conceded just 19 goals and his performances have earned him the number one spot in the Netherlands national team. PSV’s Walter Benetiz kept 10 clean sheets during his first season in Dutch football.
At right-back, Heerenveen’s Milan van Ewijk had a super season as his side finished in eighth place. The Netherlands U21 international recorded the second-highest top speed in the league (34.8 km/h) and completed the most sprints (675). The 22-year-old is also fourth on the list for the most crosses made (121 excluding corners). Norwegian right-back Marcus Pedersen had a solid season with Feyenoord. He played in 29 of their league games, providing two assists and scoring a brilliant 90th minute winner against AZ Alkmaar. Speaking of AZ, their right-back Yukinari Sugawara featured 31 times and provided eight assists as his side finished in fourth place. Joshua Brenet has had an incredible season with FC Twente, playing a vital role in their qualification for next season’s Europa Conference League. He scored seven goals and provided four assists from the right-back position.
At central defence, Jurriën Timber was always going to be a candidate. He led at the back and helped Ajax create countless chances. Timber completed more forward passes than any player in the Eredivisie last season (993) and the most successful passes (2500). The 22-year-old is close to completing a move to Arsenal. Feyenoord’s Lutsharel Geertruida is another candidate after a fantastic season in the Feyenoord defence. The 22-year-old, who can also play as a right-back, finished the season with a 91% pass accuracy (second-best in the league). He scored three goals and provided two assists in 30 league appearances. We’ve also included Feyenoord’s David Hancko. The Slovakian centre-back was brilliant at the back and even contributed to some goals. FC Twente’s Robin Pröpper is next on our list. The Dutch defender received the most yellow cards in the league last season (11), but that’s because he was at the heart of everything. A solid defender and a strong candidate for the team of the year.
Vitesse didn’t have the greatest campaign, but one individual stood out at the GelreDome. Ryan Flamingo featured in all but one of Vitesse’s games last season and he was outstanding. The 20-year-old spent the season on loan from Sassuolo and is certainly one to watch out for in the future. Another top talent who stood out last season was Waalwijk’s Shawn Adewoye. The 23-year-old Belgian played a vital part in the back line as Waalwijk finished ninth in the league. Pawel Bochniewicz (Heerenveen) missed the entire 21/22 season with a cruciate ligament injury. He bounced back from the injury last season and made his mark as one of the best centre-backs in the league. The former Poland international completed 50 interceptions and won 194 defensive duels. Sparta Rotterdam were so close to qualifying for the Conference League after finishing in sixth place. 32-year-old Bart Vriends was Sparta’s leader in their incredible campaign. The club’s captain featured 30 times and even scored two goals. Brazilian centre-back Rodrigo Guth played in all 34 of Fortuna Sittard’s league games last season. The 22-year-old averages six clearances per 90 and 1.6 blocks per 90. He definitely deserves a spot on our list.
FC Twente’s Gijs Smal leads the left-back list. He started every league game last season and played more minutes of Eredivisie football than any other player (3331). The 25-year-old provided 10 assists last season and is eighth on the list for the most chances created (68). Milos Kerkez (AZ) is one of the most talked about teenagers in world football at the moment. The 19-year-old played 33 times last season and played a crucial part in his side’s success. Maximilian Wittek is another strong contender for left-back of the season. The German provided seven assists and scored three goals. Two of those goals were from free-kicks. PSV’s Patrick van Aanholt only featured 15 times in the league last season, but was brilliant in their league and KNVB Cup success.
There are plenty of talented defensive midfielders in the Eredivisie, but these are the four that we feel stood out the most last season. Starting with Ibrahim Sangaré (PSV). The Ivorian midfielder played 29 times last season scoring five goals and providing an assist. He averaged 1.5 shots per 90 and averaged 1.3 successful tackles per game. Edson Álvarez has been a brick wall in the Ajax midfield. The Mexican accumulated the second-highest number of successful passes (2129) and won 200 duels across his 31 appearances. Feyenoord’s Mats Wieffer emerged as a super talent last season. The 23-year-old played 25 times in the Feyenoord midfield, helping them lift the league title. Ramiz Zerrouki has recently completed a move from FC Twente to Feyenoord. He won over 200 duels and completed 56 interceptions in the Twente midfield. Another strong candidate.
In central midfield let’s start with Tijjani Reijnders. The AZ Alkmaar midfielder has been excellent in defence and attack. He scored three times and provided eight assists last season as AZ finished in fourth place. The Dutchman completed 53 interceptions and finished tenth on the list for most successful passes completed (1695). Orkun Kökçü’s super season with Feyenoord has earned him a move to Benfica. The Turkish international scored eight goals and provided three assists in 32 appearances last season. PSV’s Joey Veerman provided 10 assists and scored four goals in 33 appearances. Veerman is another midfielder who made a big mark on the Eredivisie last season. We’ve also added Ajax’s Davy Klaassen. The experienced midfielder featured 33 times, scoring eight goals.
In attacking midfield it’s hard to look past Xavi Simons. The PSV player finished the season as joint-top scorer with 19 goals. The 20-year-old also provided nine assists. A super season for an incredible talent. Ajax’s Mohammed Kudus has also been sensational. The Ghanaian international scored 11 goals and provided four assists in 30 games last season. Feyenoord’s Sebastian Szymanski was a fan favourite at De Kuip last season. The 24-year-old featured 29 times, scoring nine goals during his loan spell from Dynamo Moscow. PSV’s Guus Til is a slightly more under the radar candidate. The former Feyenoord and Freiburg midfielder scored nine goals and provided three assists in his 30 appearances last season.
The Eredivisie has produced quality wingers in the past, and this year was no different. With 13 goals and 11 assists Vaclav Cerny (FC Twente) is certainly the standout in the right-wing category. His incredible season earned him a summer transfer to VfL Wolfsburg. FC Emmen were relegated from the Eredivisie, but that hasn’t stopped Ole Romeny from making an appearance in our list of nominees. The 23-year-old scored 11 goals in 33 appearances for Emmen and he’s since signed for FC Utrecht. Vitesse’s Million Manhoef started the season as a left-back and eventually ended up as his sides right-winger. The 21-year-old did the job brilliantly, scoring nine goals and providing five assists in 33 appearances. PSV’s Johan Bakayoko was given the chance to shine last season, and he certainly did that. The 20-year-old scored five and assisted five in 23 league appearances.
There were plenty of talented strikers in the Eredivisie last season. Utrecht’s Anastasios Douvikas scored 19 goals to finish the season as the joint-top scorer. After scoring nine goals in his first Eredivisie season, he started last campaign as Utrecht’s backup striker behind Bas Dost. The Greek striker scored a hat-trick in the space of 16 minutes against Fortuna Sittard and then scored another against AZ a few months later. The 23-year-old’s super season has attracted interest from a lot of big clubs. Another Greek striker who made a mark on the Eredivisie last season was Vangelis Pavlidis (AZ). The 31-time Greek international scored 12 goals and provided eight assists in 25 appearances. Feyenoord’s Santiago Giménez scored 15 goals and provided three assists last season. The Mexican machine has also got other top European clubs keeping tabs on him. Heerenveen were led by Sydney van Hooijdonk. The youngster spent the season on loan from Bologna. He scored 16 goals in 33 appearances.
Cody Gakpo completed a £35m move from PSV to Liverpool in January, but that hasn’t stopped us from including him in the list. Before his move to Anfield, Gakpo was tearing teams apart. The 24-year-old scored nine goals and provided 12 assists in just 14 appearances. Ajax captain Dušan Tadić kept doing what he does best despite his side experiencing their worst season in recent history. The Serb scored 11 goals and provided 18 assists last season. Staying in Amsterdam, Steven Bergwijn scored 12 goals and provided five assists in 32 appearances. Another wonderful winger in the Ajax squad. AZ Alkmaar’s Swedish sensation Jesper Karlsson had a brilliant campaign despite his injury problems. In 25 appearances the tricky winger scored nine goals and provided four assists.
Our final awards will follow over the weekend.