As Alkmaar closed in on the Eredivisie title in 2008/09, the club’s coach Louis van Gaal poured praise on his left-sided holding midfielder. “He was my best signing of the year,” said the esteemed tactician, Schaars having bounced back from two injury-hit campaigns – including just five appearances in 2006/07 – to become one of the key men as Alkmaar clinched their first crown since 1981. He proved less of a first-team fixture in 2009/10 but has retained the faith of Netherlands coach Bert van Marwijk, who sends out the call whenever the former Vitesse Arnhem man is in form.
A UEFA European Under-21 champion in 2006, Schaars was on the verge of selection for the 2006 FIFA World Cup™, Marco van Basten having brought him along as an injury standby to a training camp with the rest of the squad. With no withdrawals forthcoming, the defensive midfielder returned home ahead of the Netherlands’ opening group game, but he will now get the chance to prove what he can do on the greatest stage of all. An underestimated player, his tidy and intelligent style make him a valuable presence both for club and country.
His first international cap came in August 2006, three and a half years after he made his professional debut with Vitesse.