47. Anouk Dekker
Whilst every Netherlands player played their part in an incredible Euro 2017 triumph in the summer, few were as consistently impressive at the back as Anouk Dekker.
Formerly a player used further up the field, particularly with her club Montpellier, Dekker has become a rock at the centre of defence under Sarina Weigman.
Whether alongside Stefanie van der Gragt or Mandy van den Berg, Dekker played every minute of Euro 2017 and was named in the team of the tournament after Netherlands walked away as champions.
Jean-Louis Saez, Montpellier manager says:
“A very intelligent player in the game, knows perfectly where to be on the pitch and has a very good header game. She is aggressive in the good sense of the word, and she is also attracted by the goal as paradoxically as it may seem.”
Renee Slegers, Netherlands team mate says:
“She has been playing in several positions on the field. In FC Twente, she played as a central midfielder and I always hated to play against her as she is tough and good in the air. Anouk has been playing as a central defender since a year or so and she was really important for the Netherlands during the Euro’s.”
Janice Cayman, Montpellier team mate says:
“Anouk is the European Champion of our team. She is a strong and powerful defensive midfielder or central defender. She is also one of the leaders with all her experience in the national team and also at Montpellier. She is a teammate who you can always count on to give it her all.”
Priya Ramesh, Dutch football writer says:
“The Montpellier midfielder who was converted into a centre-back at short notice in the summer by Sarina Wiegman, Dekker made the position her own with her aerial ability and anticipation. Dekker faced some of the most talented forwards in Europe in the likes of Ada Hegerberg, Pernille Harder and Jodie Taylor and despite having a change in partner from Mandy van den Berg to Stefanie van der Gragt halfway through the tournament, remained composed and reliable in the centre of defence.
“When Sweden suffocated the Dutch in midfield, Dekker’s passing ability had opportunity to shine as the hosts bypassed midfield to play long passes to the likes of Lieke Martens and Vivianne Miedema in attack.”