‘Put Wieffer next to Frenkie de Jong’
Ronald Koeman will welcome the first Oranje selection of his second term as national team coach on Monday afternoon in Zeist. Three new names walk into hotel Woudschoten before 1 p.m.: Lutsharel Geertruida, Mats Wieffer and Anderlecht goalkeeper Bart Verbruggen.
The mood of Feyenoorders Geertruida and Wieffer will not have gotten any worse after Sunday. The 22-year-old defender Geertruida was matchwinner in the Klassieker against Ajax at the Johan Cruijff Arena. A debut Friday in the European Championship qualifier match with France is not unlikely.
At Studio Football former internationals Rafael van der Vaart and Ibrahim Afellay will give the Feyenoord player a starting place at the Stade de France in the absence of the suspended Denzel Dumfries. In that case, Geertruida may get ready for the toughest possible test, with Kylian Mbappé as his opponent.
‘Passed with flying colors in Classic’
As far as Pierre van Hooijdonk is concerned, we will also see 23-year-old midfielder Wieffer back against France, alongside Frenkie de Jong in midfield. Van Hooijdonk saw Wieffer as one of the standouts in the Klassieker.
Van Hooijdonk: ‘Just put Wieffer alongside Frenkie de Jong against France’
“Against Sjachtar he was already very good and against Ajax he also passed with flying colors,” Van Hooijdonk said. “He makes the right choices, he scans well and therefore already knows where the ball should go. That creates calm, with that you give your team time to breathe. I would draft him, alongside Frenkie.”
Van der Vaart is less convinced about Wieffer and his game against Ajax. “I would draft him against Gibraltar,” Van der Vaart said. “I’ve seen moments when he just lacks some handling speed. He is a good player, but for the absolute top he just falls short. I don’t see him ending up at Barcelona or Real Madrid.”
Zero again for Verbruggen
Orange’s third selection debutant is also undoubtedly coming in with a smile. The 20-year-old Verbruggen helped his club Anderlecht on Thursday with several saves at the expense of Villarreal to a place in the quarter-finals of the Conference League, where AZ is the opponent.
In the Belgian competition, Verbruggen was once again on target Sunday. The goalkeeper distinguished himself with clever saves, contributing to the 2-0 victory at Leuven. If it’s up to the Belgians, Verbruggen will even become the number one under the crossbar at Orange.
‘How long has it been since we had such a talent?’
Xavi Simons was the last debutant in the Dutch national team at the last World Cup under Louis van Gaal against the United States. The 19-year-old PSV player showed his class on Sunday with an unparalleled goal against Vitesse. It was already his thirteenth Eredivisie goal of the season for Simons, making him co-leader.
“Terribly clever what this boy is showing in his first real season as a professional at PSV,” Afellay said.
Van der Vaart on Simons: ‘How long has it been since we had such a talent?’
“How long has it been since we have had such a talent in the Netherlands?”, Van der Vaart wonders. “Simons has so much potential. If it is managed in the right way at Oranje, we will have a player in the house of which we have no idea at all how good he is.”
Earlier, Van der Vaart stated in Studio Soccer that Oranje should be built around Simons and the 109-time international is sticking to those words. Against France, Simons is given a spot as number ten in Van der Vaart’s Oranje. Afellay also put Simons in the starting lineup, but as a right winger.
Watch the regular sections in Studio Voetbal below: Final Signal on Wim Jansen (by Frank Heinen) and the Wall Layer by Hugo Borst.
Rewind the entire broadcast, in which Sjoerd van Ramshorst talks through soccer week with Pierre van Hooijdonk, Ibrahim Afellay, Rafael van der Vaart and Voetbal International journalist Süleyman Öztürk, here.