05 dec 2023 om 05:13
Shanice van de Sanden is experiencing dream weeks. She welcomed daughter Haló, scored for Liverpool for the first time in a year and made her return for the Dutch team after two years. “Yes, I’m not a quitter.”
As Van de Sanden stared at the ceiling in the Hilton next to Wembley on Thursday evening, the attacker visualized how she would come on against England the next day and score the winning goal. 24 hours later she was extremely happy in the same bed: even though she did not score, she did make her return to the Dutch national team.
The 31-year-old Van de Sanden came on in the 85th minute against England (3-2). These were her first minutes in the Dutch team since November 29, 2021. That Monday evening against Japan (0-0), she was substituted for Lineth Beerensteyn after an hour. While Beerensteyn grew into a permanent fixture at the Dutch team, Van de Sanden disappeared from view.
“It was difficult,” says Van de Sanden, whose international match count was stuck at 95 for two years due to injuries and poorer form. It has changed her. “I was very playful and exuberant. I still am, but I have really matured. I have had many injuries that often prevented me from playing. Now I feel strong.”
Shanice van de Sanden was crowned European champion with the Dutch team in 2017. Photo: Getty Images
Jonker: ‘Usually a top player does not return’
National coach Andries Jonker left Van de Sanden at home for the World Cup last summer, but included her in the selection for the last two Nations League matches. During the training sessions, the Liverpool attacker is always on the field as a fanatic, where she also makes frequent use of her vocal chords.
“She gives a lot of energy and uses it,” says Jonker. “She is doing as I hoped and expected. She wants to help the team in any way she can.”
Van de Sanden was one of the eye-catchers of the golden team at the European Championships in 2017. The vanguard with Van de Sanden, Vivianne Miedema and Lieke Martens was “outstanding”, according to Jonker.
“But with Van de Sanden things became less and less and she fell into oblivion. She is one of the few who manages to come back from the hole. Usually when a top player disappears, it is over and then you don’t come anymore. back. But she is so obsessed, so fanatical and still manages to do it. I have a lot of respect for that.”
When Van de Sanden hears how highly Jonker spoke about her after the match at Wembley, she becomes shy. “Oh?” she says. “Yes, I am not a quitter. I still have dreams. I also want to win the Olympic Games. I love winning prizes, so I would like to add those too. I will always keep dreaming, no matter how old you are.”
Shanice van de Sanden together with Sherida Spitse at the training of the Dutch team. Photo: Getty Images
‘I’m going to hug my daughter on Saturday evening’
Her return was the icing on the cake of two special weeks. It started two weeks ago, when her friend Tatjana gave birth to daughter Haló. It was still exciting whether Van de Sanden would make it to the delivery, since she was in Liverpool for her club.
“The due date was approaching and then I had to wait for the call. I took my phone with me to training. The physio kept it with me. When I got the call, I immediately booked a flight and raced to the airport. .”
Van de Sanden was on time and stayed with her new family during the first maternity week. Then she flew back to Liverpool for the match against Brighton & Hove Albion. The week became even better there. In the match, which he won 4-0, Van de Sanden scored for the first time in more than a year.
She made a rocking gesture as she cheered. “I am a proud mother. I haven’t been home much yet. Saturday evening I have some time off. Then I will cuddle her. And after the winter break, the three of us will fly to Liverpool. Then we will live there together.”
Oranje in Nations League
The Netherlands will take on Belgium on Tuesday at 8:45 PM in the King Willem II Stadium in Tilburg. England will start the match against Scotland in Glasgow at the same time.
Stand groep 1 Nations League
Netherlands 5-9 (+4) England 5-9 (+1) Belgium 5-8 (+1) Scotland 5-2 (-6)