AMSTERDAM: The Dutch who are making a comeback on the Euro stage have high hopes for one of their pillars, Frenkie de Jong to do something positive at the tournament.
The last time The Oranje participated in a major football tournament was in the 2014 World Cup campaign, seeing them finish the competition in third place.
This time, they will return to warm up the Euro 2020 competition, starting the rival campaign by hosting Ukraine’s visit to Amsterdam on Monday.
After failing to qualify for Euro 2016 and the 2018 World Cup, key players such as Robin van Persie, Arjen Robben and Wesley Sneijder are no longer in the national squad line -up and have been taken over by a new generation of Dutch.
This new generation is strengthened by the presence of 24 -year -old Barcelona planner, De Jong with Matthijs de Ligt who currently represents Juventus.
The combination of players seemed to bear fruit when with Ajax who advanced to the semi-finals of the 2019 Champions League, before being ‘lured’ by a high-value transfer.
De Jong, however, needed a season to adjust to La Liga rivals after a 75 million euro move to Camp Nou and his appearance at Euro 2020 this time came with a better performance in his second year at Barcelona.
However, there are questions about the extent of his performance after playing 4,492 minutes for Barcelona in the 2020/21 season with 49 appearances in total.
The record is at least 300 minutes more than every player in the squad, Jordi Alba and Lionel Messi and beyond, the second most frequently dropped for an outside player in La Liga.
The importance of de Jong playing in midfield, in addition to often being used at central defense at Camp Nou increased after Ronald Koeman, the individual who gave him the confidence to make his first international appearance was appointed coach last August.
“He plays in every position except the goalkeeper. He’s amazing.
“At the Euros, he will be one of our key players. If Frenkie plays well, then the Netherlands will play well too.” said Dutch coach Frank de Boer in an interview with daily sports media, Marca, recently.