Best Dutch players to have played for Aston Villa

As we look ahead to England's Euro 2024 semi-final against the Netherlands, we take a look at the best Dutch players to have played for Aston Villa over the years.
Clive Brunskill/GettyImages

1. Stefan Postma

Stefan Postma
Tottenham Hotspur v Aston Villa / Christopher Lee/GettyImages

Stefan Postma made just 13 Premier League appearances during his three-year spell at Aston Villa. Postma arrived at Villa Park in May 2022, signning from Dutch team De Graafschap for a fee of £1.5 million. Postma was signed by Graham Taylor in the hope he would be the man to replace the footballing legend that was Peter Schmeichel who had recently moved to Manchester City. However, despite only being in competition with Peter Enckelman, famous for one of Villa's worst own goals ever scored in the defeat at Birmingham City, Postma couldn't cement a place in the starting XI. This was made more difficult by David O'Leary signing Danish international Thomas Sorensen and Postma fell further down the pecking order. He would soon sign for Wolverhampton Wanderers on loan before sealing a permanent move. Postma didn't last long at Wolves either however and returned to the Netherlands after signing for ADO Den Haag in 2006.

2. Wilfred Bouma

Aston Villa's Dutch defender Wilfred Bou
Aston Villa's Dutch defender Wilfred Bou / LEON NEAL/GettyImages

Wilfred Bouma was a fan favourite at Villa Park during his five-year spell with the club. Bouma was signed by David O'Leary in August 2005 for £3.5 million and the left-back quickly slotted into the team. However, dips in form and struggles with injury saw Jlloyd Samuel come into the team and so Bouma started just 20 of the 38 league games in the 2005/06 season. Much of Bouma's best action came under Martin O'Neil's management. After an impressive 2006/07 season he was rewarded with his first call up to the Netherlands national squad and his Villa career got better and better as it went on. Bouma played and started every league game of the 2007/08 season and became a cult hero at Villa Park during a season that saw Villa finish 6th and qualify for the UEFA cup. The Dutch international also scored his only goal in claret and blue in the 4-1 home win over Newcastle and the sheer joy amongst the players and fans in appreciation of his goal showed how much he was loved by the Villa Park faithful. Unfortunately Bouma suffered a traumatic injury in July 2008 following his return from the European Championships. Bouma sustained a dislocated ankle and despite rare appearances for the Villa reserves in an attempt to get back to full fitness, he sadly never played for Villa again and left to sign for PSV in 2010. He went on to make 76 appearances for PSV following his comeback from injury before retiring from football in 2013. A potentially brilliant career at Villa Park ruined by injury.

3. George Boateng

George Boateng
George Boateng / Ross Kinnaird/GettyImages

Ghanaian-born George Boateng signed for Villa in the summer of 1999, joining from Coventry City for a fee of £4.5 million. Boateng made 134 appearances in claret and blue, scoring 5 goals. The tough-tackling centre midfielder player was part of the starting XI that lost in the 2000 FA Cup final to Chelsea at Wembley and was a crucial figure starting almost every league game from 1999-2002. However, after a fall out with manager Graham Taylor towards the end of the 2001/02 season meant Boateng wanted to leave the club. A move to Liverpool fell through before signing for Middlesbrough where he became a club legend. Boateng did make his international debut for the Netherlands in November 2001 whilst a Villa player.

4. Ron Vlaar

Soccer : Barclays Premier League - Aston Villa v Sunderland
Soccer : Barclays Premier League - Aston Villa v Sunderland / Matthew Ashton/GettyImages

Former captain of Aston Villa Ron Vlaar signed for the club in 2012. Vlaar signed and was given the number four shirt before quickly being named club captain just a few weeks after his debut. This was due to the ongoing absence of Stylian Petrov through illness. His first game as captain is one that is well remembered amongst Villa fans, who saw their first glimpse of Belgian striker Christian Benteke. Benteke scored his first goal in the 2-0 win over Swansea to get Vlaar's captaincy off to a winning start. Vlaar scored two goals for the club and his best was in his first season in the 6-1 thumping of Sunderland at Villa Park. Vlaar scored a piledriver from 30 yards to level the score, before Benteke did what he usually did (score a lot of goals!). Nicknamed 'Concrete Ron' by the Villa fans and his teammates, Vlaar shone for the Netherlands at the FIFA World Cup in 2014 and he was continuously linked with a move away from the club. He was offered a new contract by the club at the end of the 2014/15 season but he declined the offer and left the club a year before Villa's relegation to the Championship. Villa finished 15th twice and 17th in his three years at the club and many people say that Vlaar was a very good player but in a very bad team.

5. Anwar El Ghazi

Anwar El-Ghazi
Aston Villa v Derby County - Sky Bet Championship Play-off Final / Sebastian Frej/MB Media/GettyImages

I'm sure many Villa fans will agree with me when I say that Anwar El Ghazi proved to be one of Villa's most important players in recent history, and almost certainly Villa's best Dutch player from this list. The Dutch winger signed for Villa in August 2018, initially on a season-long loan from Lille. His debut season was one to remember in claret and blue and it ended with El Ghazi scoring the opening goal in Villa's play-off final victory over Derby that secured promotion back to the Premier League. He scored 6 goals and made 6 assists in his first season and his form was good enough to get the fans on his side. His initial loan move was made a permanent deal in the summer of 2019, signing a four-year contract. The following season saw El Ghazi rotate in and out of the side a lot with new signing Trezeguet. He scored 6 goals in all competitions that year and played a key role in Villa reaching the EFL cup final, which they went on to lose to Manchester City. El Ghazi's best season in claret and blue was the 2020/21 COVID season where fans were unable to be at the stadium. EL Ghazi scored 10 goals that season, with his last minute winner away at Wolves and screamer at home to Crystal Palace being the stand out moments. He fell out of favour the next season however following the signings of Emi Buendia and Leon Bailey and subsequently played very little before heading to Everton on loan. After an unsuccessful loan spell at Goodison Park he moved back to the Netherlands and his English football career drew to a close. 'Anwar El Goalzi' (as nicknamed by John McGinn) was often a frustrating watch for Villa fans with inconsistency in his performances. However, when he was having a good day he was a terrific player with great trickery and an eye for goal.

And soon to be....

6. Ian Maatsen

Ian Maatsen
Romania v Netherlands: Round of 16 - UEFA EURO 2024 / Robbie Jay Barratt - AMA/GettyImages

Following his move to Villa from Chelsea for a fee of £37.5 million this summer it is expected that Maatsen will play a critical role in Unai Emery's team next season. Following a brilliant loan spell with Borussia Dortmund last season which saw him awarded with a place in the Champions League team of the Season (awarded by UEFA), Emery was keen to get him in. Unai Emery got his man and now he is the latest Dutch international to play for Villa.

Villa have not had a huge number of Dutch players over the years, but a few gems have been discovered and been able to impress the Villa Park crowd.