‘No idea how it works’
“I’m not really surprised that I’m included, but I’m surprised that it’s happening so fast.”
For many people, perhaps including himself, he is national coach Ronald Koeman’s biggest surprise in the Dutch national team’s pre-selection: Bart Verbruggen. A 20-year-old goalkeeper from Anderlecht, once the best club in Belgium, in recent years remarkably often found in the sub-top or lower.
Anderlecht’s goalkeeper coach, former goalkeeper Jelle ten Rouwelaar who himself was once in the pre-selection of Oranje, brought Verbruggen to Belgium. He has been the first goalkeeper there since this season, although the former NAC Breda player has also been a regular goalkeeper in recent seasons.
Verbruggen after spot in Dutch national team pre-selection: ‘Earlier than expected, huge honor’
“If you play well at Anderlecht, you know that sooner or later you will be considered. But even so, it’s earlier than expected,” Verbruggen said. Still, he secretly took it into account a bit: “You knew there were a number of injuries, so I would be lying if I say that around 1 p.m., when the selection was to be announced, I didn’t refresh the Internet page very often.”
“Then I saw my name among them, which made me super happy and proud. As a little boy you dream of the Dutch national team, so this is a good step in that direction. I’m going to do my best to convince them there in Zeist,” said the young goalkeeper.
European Championship selection
Whether Verbruggen really has to report to Zeist remains to be seen, as this is a preliminary selection. Koeman will soon announce the final selection for the European Championship qualifiers against losing World Cup finalist France and soccer giant Gibraltar at the end of this month, ahead of the European Championship in Germany next year.
In doing so, Verbruggen has not yet had contact with anyone from the KNVB: “I haven’t spoken to national coach Ronald Koeman yet. It’s also my first time of course, no idea how it all works.”