Pierre van Hooijdonk believes “tough guy” Henk ten Cate should be appointed Netherlands coach and feels Danny Blind’s dismissal was inevitable.
Blind was given the boot last month after a 2-0 World Cup qualifying defeat to Bulgaria, which dealt a blow to the 1988 European champions’ chances of qualifying for the tournament in Russia next year.
Everton manager Ronald Koeman has been linked with the role, while Louis van Gaal and Frank de Boer are also among the candidates to replace Blind.
But former Netherlands striker Van Hooijdonk thinks the straight-talking Ten Cate is a more realistic option, suggesting the Al Jazira boss can ruffle a few feathers in the national team with his no-nonsense approach.
“Immediately you always look at the best coach we’ve got and I think at the moment that is Ronald Koeman,” he told Omnisport.
“Koeman is in a job at Everton and so he’s not an option, he declared himself as a non-candidate. Frank de Boer is without a club, but he just wants to continue at club level, so he ruled himself out. People are talking about Van Gaal again, I don’t think that he will take it.
“So, we look at an experienced coach who has been at big clubs and one of my favourite candidates is Henk ten Cate, who has been at Chelsea and Barcelona. I see him as one of the main candidates.
“He can be the tough guy, he doesn’t care about reputation, although we only have two players with a reputation [Arjen Robben and Wesley Sneijder].
“This group, in my opinion, needs a strong hand and that is something that may have been missing. Although, I must also say that Blind did have bad luck with injuries and illness at crucial points.”
Van Hooijdonk said there was no way Blind could continue following such a poor performance in Sofia.
“I think it was just a matter of time [before Blind was sacked]. The only way Blind could survive was by winning games, it seemed he just bought time by winning a game [against Luxembourg],” he added.
“When we lost against Bulgaria, in a way that was very, very disappointing, after the game in his post-match interview he questioned himself for the first time and I think that maybe speeded things up and from then on everybody knew that it was going to happen.”
Netherlands sit fourth in Group A of UEFA qualification, six points behind leaders France.