Dutch football expert Marcel van der Kraan gives saintsfc.co.uk the lowdown on Vitesse ahead of Thursday night’s Europa League third qualifying round clash at St Mary's.
What sort of team will Saints be coming up against?
They have a very young side. It’s probably the youngest I’ve seen play for Vitesse. Part of that is the result of the link with Chelsea. Vitesse are not able to buy big players because like most teams in Holland, they are a talent-producing club.
They scout for young talent and that’s how they try to fill the first team. The link with Chelsea has given them the option of having big talents from all over the world. The top young players are able to play for a while in Holland and the crowd like that a lot because it gives them better talent than they might have normally.
The team seems to have changed quite a lot from last season?
It’s a sad thing for Dutch fans that they keep seeing the best players leave. Davy Propper has gone to the champions PSV, Jan-Arie van der Heijden was a central defender who has gone to Feyenoord, Ronald Koeman’s old club.
The striker Bertrand Traoré has now gone back to Chelsea because they think he’s good enough for the first-team. In that way, the manager has to start from scratch.
What style of football does the manager Peter Bosz adopt?
The best thing about Vitesse is they have a manager who is, after Ronald Koeman, the most talented manager in the country. He has the biggest quality because he dares to play attacking football.
He has an incredible Dutch vision on recruiting players and making them play an attacking style. He will not dig in with 11 players; ‘park the bus’ as you say in England. In that way he produces good players and it’s why Chelsea are very happy with Peter Bosz as a manager, because he improves their young players who come on loan.
Which player should Saints watch out for in particular?
I think the captain, Guram Kashia, the Georgian captain. He’s probably the only real mature player in the squad and he’s only 28. He’s a real leader and I think he will stand out in defence and hold his own against Southampton. He could be a Premier League player one day.
Do fans still remember Ronald Koeman’s time with the club?
Of course. It was the start of his coaching career at Vitesse. He has fond memories of that time when he was with the club. It was to be expected that he would move on to much greater things in football. He was bound to have a good coaching career.
What type of game are you expecting at St Mary’s?
I expect a very difficult game for Vitesse. I watched Southampton play against Feyenoord at De Kuip. Up against 50,000 Dutch fans they just dominated and dictated the whole play.
The two teams play entertaining football so it should be exciting, but the physical power of Southampton will make it hard for Vitesse.