Netherlands boss De Boer backs Wijnaldum and De Ligt to fill Van Dijk void

By Sports Desk May 26, 2021

Netherlands head coach Frank de Boer agrees with Virgil van Dijk's decision to sit out Euro 2020 and expects Georginio Wijnaldum and Matthijs de Ligt to fill the leadership void.

Dutch skipper Van Dijk confirmed two weeks ago that he will miss the tournament to focus on getting fully fit for the start of pre-season with Liverpool.

The 29-year-old missed the majority of the 2020-21 campaign due to an anterior cruciate ligament injury sustained against Everton in October, though he is now back in individual training.

De Boer accepts Van Dijk will be a big loss for Oranje in their quest to win a second European Championship title, but understands the decision taken by the centre-back.

"Virgil made the decision himself," De Boer said at a news conference on Wednesday. "I think that's the way it should be. 

"We all hoped that he would have been able to join us, that he would have had the same scenario as Daley Blind, that he would have been able to play one or two games. 

"If we would reach the final, he would have been fit to play, that's what he said himself. In the end, it's been a very well thought out choice of his, even though it sucks for us. 

"We hope we'll reach the World Cup, too, which will be played pretty soon. He doesn't want to miss two big tournaments and he also wants to be important for his club next season. 

"We have all seen how big of an impact his absence has had on us and on Liverpool."

Wijnaldum took over captaincy duties from club-mate Van Dijk last November and will wear the armband at the delayed Euro 2020 finals.

De Boer can also call upon the likes of Inter's Stefan de Vrij and Juventus defender De Ligt, who became the youngest captain in Ajax's history in 2017.

Asked who in his squad will spur the players on, De Boer said: "At this point, it's our captain [Wijnaldum]. 

"But there's different types of leaders: some are charismatic, some are very vocal. That's why you're asking this.

"I think Virgil van Dijk has everything: he has charisma, he's vocal and he looks like a true leader. Now we need to find others. 

"Matthijs de Ligt was captaining Ajax at 19. He is also a similar leader. Stefan de Vrij has proven to be able to do so as well in his recent years at the highest level at Inter. 

"It's something that has to grow within the squad. Daley Blind might not be a very physical leader, but he's very vocal and clear about what he wants others to do – a big plus for us.

"I don't think we have one single leader that has all of those qualities, but it's now time for multiple leaders to stand up and work as one, both on and off the pitch."

De Boer was speaking after naming his finalised 26-man squad for the Euros on Wednesday.

Tottenham forward Steven Bergwijn was the biggest casualty of the eight players cut from the initial 34-man group.

Anwar El Ghazi, Hans Hateboer, Rick Karsdorp, Marco Bizot, Jeremiah St. Juste, Kenny Tete and Tonny Vilhena were the other players omitted by De Boer.

The Netherlands begin their Group C campaign against Ukraine in Amsterdam on June 13, before facing Austria and North Macedonia.

 

Netherlands squad in full:

Jasper Cillessen (Valencia), Tim Krul (Norwich City), Maarten Stekelenburg (Ajax); Nathan Ake (Manchester City), Daley Blind (Ajax), Matthijs de Ligt (Juventus), Stefan de Vrij (Inter), Denzel Dumfries (PSV), Jurrien Timber (Ajax), Patrick van Aanholt (Crystal Palace), Joel Veltman (Brighton and Hove Albion), Owen Wijndal (AZ); Frenkie de Jong (Barcelona), Marten de Roon (Atalanta), Ryan Gravenberch (Ajax), Davy Klaassen (Ajax), Teun Koopmeiners (AZ), Donny van de Beek (Manchester United), Georginio Wijnaldum (Liverpool); Steven Berghuis (Feyenoord), Luuk de Jong (Sevilla), Memphis Depay (Olympique Lyonnais), Cody Gakpo (PSV), Donyell Malen (PSV), Quincy Promes (Spartak Moscow), Wout Weghorst (Wolfsburg).

Related items

  • Emiliano Martinez stars as Aston Villa beat Lille on penalties Emiliano Martinez stars as Aston Villa beat Lille on penalties

    Emiliano Martinez was the unsurprising star of a dramatic penalty shootout as Aston Villa edged past Lille and into the semi-final of the Europa Conference League.

    The Argentina goalkeeper, who helped his country win the World Cup 18 months ago, produced some similar heroics in France, saving spot-kicks from Nabil Bentaleb and Benjamin Andre to earn a 4-3 shootout win after the quarter-final had ended 3-3 on aggregate after two legs.

    There was plenty of his trademark dark arts on show as he shushed the baiting French crowd, who had not forgotten what happened in Qatar, and then caused confusion by receiving a yellow card from the referee in the middle of the shootout, having already been booked in normal time.

    But bookings are not carried forward into the shootout meaning he could stay on and send Villa into a first European semi-final since 1982.

    They were not deserving of victory, though, as they were outplayed for the majority of the second leg in France, with goals from Yusuf Yazici and Andre overturning a 2-1 first leg advantage.

    Matty Cash’s 87th-minute strike sent it to extra-time, with Martinez coming up trumps in the shootout to give boss Unai Emery an eighth successive European quarter-final victory.

    The Spaniard, so prolific in the Europa League with Sevilla and Villarreal will be eyeing another European trophy.

  • Dujon Sterling urges Rangers to change mentality after poor run Dujon Sterling urges Rangers to change mentality after poor run

    Dujon Sterling has called for a mentality change from Rangers for the season’s finale after a string of poor performances.

    The goalless draw at Dundee on Wednesday night in their game in hand left Philippe Clement’s side three points behind cinch Premiership leaders Celtic with five post-split fixtures remaining, which includes a trip to Parkhead.

    The loss of a valuable two points which swings the title further towards Celtic came after their first ever defeat against Ross County on Sunday and a 3-3 draw against the Hoops at Ibrox, where they had to come from behind twice to salvage a point.

    Now the Light Blues need to focus on Sunday’s Scottish Gas Scottish Cup semi-final against Hearts at Hampden Park and Sterling, who signed from Chelsea last summer, was brutally honest about the current state of affairs at the Govan club who now have two wins in eight in all competition and he is looking for rapid change.

    Asked about possibly owing a performance on Sunday to Clement, who put up a stout defence of his players after the Dundee disappointment, and the fans who booed the players off in angry frustration, utility player Sterling said: “We owe ourselves a performance as well because we have been s*** the past three games.

    “We need to re-set and do it for the fans as well because they have come home and away, backing us, singing for 90, 95, 100 minutes and we owe it to them.

    “Obviously the results have been disappointing in the past two weeks and I know they have seen it before over the past years. Hopefully we can change that but we will see.

    “We are fighting for a title and the way we are playing is as if we are not playing for anything, like the season is dead and it is a dead rubber game.

    “Somehow it has got to switch. I don’t have the words to do it or know how to do it. It is a team thing, not just one person and not just the gaffer.

    “We just have to have that belief that we can (come back). We had the togetherness, we had the belief. We still have the togetherness but I don’t know if the belief is there.

    ” I think everyone has to switch their minds that we can have that belief that we can do this. It is not good enough on our part. We have a lot of work to do and we need to re-set.

    “We need to get our heads in the game, switch our mentality because for now, it is not going in the right direction.

    “There is still a lot of games to be played and there’s still things to fight for.

    “Of course anything can happen. We have five games left, five cup finals and hopefully the fans can push us to get through them.

    “The dressing room is down at the minute. But we dust this one off, get back to the training ground and review it, park it and focus on the semi-final.”

  • Reggae Boyz to host Dominican Republic at National Stadium on June 6 to open second round of 2026 World Cup Qualifying Reggae Boyz to host Dominican Republic at National Stadium on June 6 to open second round of 2026 World Cup Qualifying

    Jamaica will open the second round of 2026 World Cup Qualifying on June 6 when they host the Dominican Republic at the National Stadium in Kingston.

    The team will then travel to Dominica to play their second game on June 9 to complete the first two rounds of matchdays in the second round.

    The other teams involved in Group E are Guatemala and the British Virgin Islands, who won a two-legged playoff against the US Virgin Islands to secure their spot.

    The other two matchdays will be played in June 2025.

    The announcement was made by Jamaica Football Federation President Michael Ricketts at the federation’s official launch of Jamaica’s World Cup Qualifying campaign on Thursday.

    “The size of your rear view mirror is so very small compared to the big mirror in front of you. The JFF has no intention of using our rear view mirror. We’re not going to engage anybody in anything that would have been the past. The big picture now is ahead of us,” said Ricketts.

    Ricketts also spoke on a qualifying process that will see the Reggae Boyz not having to contend with regional powerhouses the USA, Mexico and Canada.

    “A lot of people have said that it is going to be easy but we still have to work as hard as we can,” he said.

    “We don’t want to drop the ball here and this was why we engaged coach Hallgrimsson. We understand the importance of the development program that will take us past 2026. We want to leave a legacy at the JFF,” he added.

    With hosts Mexico, United States and Canada, all earning automatic qualification, the qualifiers will be contested among the other 32 FIFA affiliated Concacaf member associations. The second round of qualifiers will see the two first round winners, joining the confederation's remaining 28 participating member associations.

    Following single round-robin matches (two home and two away) in the second round, the six group winners and runners-up will progress to the final round (12 teams total).

     

     

© 2023 SportsMaxTV All Rights Reserved.