Who will be the Weghorst of 2023?
Dutch national team editor
Dutch national team editor
National coach Ronald Koeman this afternoon announced his preliminary selection for the upcoming European Championship qualifiers against France in Paris on March 24 and against Gibraltar in Rotterdam on March 27. It is Koeman’s first selection in his second term as national coach.
Like five years ago in his first term, we can expect some new names in the provisional selection. At frontrunner Feyenoord they are waiting in suspense and perhaps Koeman will provide more surprises, from Toulouse or Brussels for example.
First preliminary selection Bergwijn and Weghorst
First back to Koeman’s first pre-selection at his first term on March 7, 2018 for two friendlies against England and Portugal. It was a great day for Steven Bergwijn, Marco Bizot, Hans Hateboer, Justin Kluivert, Guus Til, Ruud Vormer and Wout Weghorst.
The said seven were among the preliminary selection of Orange for the first time. “I am proud of myself, of the path I have taken,” Weghorst commented on his preliminary selection. “In the end, I will be most proud when I get to wear that orange shirt and get my minutes in the Dutch national team.”
And so it happened for Weghorst, then striker of AZ, now of Manchester United. Weghorst’s name is undoubtedly on the list that Koeman announced today. Steven Bergwijn can also consider himself safe from a place in the Orange of the returning coach.
View of Rotterdam
There has been much talk in recent weeks about the potential internationals at frontrunner Feyenoord. Midfielder Mats Wieffer (24), defender Lutsharel Geertruida (22) and left back Quilindschy Hartman (21) are in blistering form. At his presentation, Koeman already indicated he enjoyed the “intensity” in the Rotterdammers’ play.
“If you can already be so decisive in a short time at the front runner of the premier league, an invitation from Zeist would not be crazy at all,” none other than Willem van Hanegem said about the development of Wieffer, who, like Weghorst, hails from Borne, in the Algemeen Dagblad.
Watch a clip from last Sunday’s Studio Voetbal, about the potential internationals at Feyenoord, below:
Feyenoorders in Oranje? ‘Why Wieffer doesn’t and Taylor does?’
Wieffer may have his sights set on a spot next to Frenkie de Jong in the midfield of Oranje, It is the position that was occupied in recent times by Marten de Roon, Teun Koopmeiners and Steven Berghuis, among others.
Tijjani Reijnders, who is manifesting himself more and more at championship contender AZ, will also have entered the day hopeful.
View of Italy, France and Belgium
And will Koeman also look to the French league for midfield reinforcements? If so, he knows that 27-year-old Branco van den Boomen is playing the pan off the roof there and is an important player at Toulouse with six goals and 10 assists.
The Brabander, acquired from De Graafschap in the summer of 2020, was promoted to the highest level with Toulouse last season and is proving his worth in the Ligue 1 as well. With his fine (free) kick, Van den Boomen brings a strong weapon.
As many as 86 international games he has already played, but for Georginio Wijnaldum a place in this pre-selection is not a formality. After being passed over by Louis van Gaal and after recovering from the fracture in his tibia, it could herald a return to Orange for the AS Roma player, with the coach who allowed him to flourish.
The injuries to Justin Bijlow and Andries Noppert may force Koeman to make a surprise call-up at goalkeeper. The 20-year-old Bart Verbruggen (former NAC Breda) played himself into the spotlight last Thursday by stopping no fewer than three penalties in Anderlecht’s Conference League clash with Kudugorets.
Anderlecht system, other choices
Who will be the wingers? Koeman announced at his presentation that he would opt for the 4-3-3 system, and for that you need wingers. Rather, Koeman’s predecessor Louis van Gaal concluded earlier that the supply of Dutch wingers, especially on the right side, was too little.
Cody Gakpo and Steven Bergwijn are the certainties and Xavi Simons and Steven Berghuis can focus on a place on the wing in addition to midfield. Consider further Noa Lang, Arnaut Danjuma, Donyell Malen, Javairô Dilrosun or maybe even Justin Kluivert, Calvin Stengs or Crysencio Summerville from Leeds United.
The return to 4-3-3 also has consequences for the (wing) backs much discussed under Van Gaal. For example, Jeremie Frimpong, who excels at Bayer Leverkusen, is a potential replacement for Denzel Dumfries, who was suspended against France, but the Amsterdam native, who never played in the premier league, is not used to playing in a four-man defense.
In short, Koeman may surprise there, too. Around noon, the national coach will announce the names of his pre-selection and we will know who the Bergwijn, Bizot, Hateboer, Kluivert, Til, Vormer and Weghorst of 2023 have become.