‘No final farewell Cillessen, hit Berghuis not reason absence’

‘No final farewell Cillessen, hit Berghuis not reason absence’

NOS Football

Koeman: ‘No final farewell Cillessen, hit Berghuis not reason for absence’

The fact that Jasper Cillessen has not been called up for the Final Four of the Nations League does not yet mean the 34-year-old goalkeeper’s final farewell at Oranje. National coach Ronald Koeman continues to see the 65-time NEC international as a candidate after the summer.

“I didn’t choose Jasper because of his form,” Koeman said Saturday at a press conference in Zeist. In the closing stages of the season, the experienced Cillessen made a few glaring mistakes, in defeats against Vitesse and sc Heerenveen.

Cillessen missed the World Cup in Qatar under Koeman’s predecessor Louis van Gaal. In the first international games under Koeman in March against France (4-0 loss) and Gibraltar (3-0 win), Cillessen was back in the starting lineup.

Three months later, with Justin Bijlow (Feyenoord), Mark Flekken (last season Freiburg, next season Brentford) and Andries Noppert (sc Heerenveen), Koeman calls up three other goalkeepers.

Noppert, who was surprisingly first choice at the World Cup, was missing in March due to injury. “In my eyes, he belongs among the best three goalkeepers. He is a great guy for the group I have heard, that also counts. If he had been fit in March, he might have played then too.”


Besides Cillessen, Koeman left three Ajax players at home from the pre-selection with Steven Berghuis, Brian Brobbey and Davy Klaassen. That Berghuis was not called up had nothing to do with the blow he recently dealt to an FC Twente fan, the national coach said. “No. That choice is because of his form, not because of the incident,” he said.

“The selection is based on what I’ve seen. Ideally you look at fitness, form and level. But you also have to deal with the different positions, at some positions there is more competition than others.”

“Because of the lesser form I choose fewer players from Ajax,” said Koeman, who thought carefully about his selection after the disappointing duels with France and Gibraltar. Fitness has become a more important gauge.

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“Intensity you need in today’s soccer. You assume soccer, but also energy and being able to run distances. That’s also important.”


Jeremie Frimpong, who is part of the Bundesliga’s team of the year, was not called up by Koeman, because he considers the right back’s defensive qualities insufficient. Thereupon, Frimpong thanked for Jong Oranje, which plays the European Championship in Georgia and Romania this month.

“I don’t understand that,” Koeman said firmly. “It’s not good that he thanked, I don’t think that’s okay.”

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“If you think you have transcended the level of Jong Oranje, then I think you are making a wrong decision.” The Bayer Leverkusen defender also has Ghanaian nationality and could still opt for an international career in that country. Frimpong was among the World Cup squad, but did not appear in action in Qatar.

With almost complete selection in striking shirts

The Dutch national team trained with an almost complete squad on Saturday. Only Nathan Aké (Manchester City) and Denzel Dumfries (Internazionale) are still missing. They face each other Saturday night in the final of the Champions League. They will join the squad later. Koeman expects both players to be deployable on Wednesday.

Xavi Simons (l) wears the shirt of Spain’s Thader Rojales, his first amateur club, with Tyrell Malacia (Overmaas)

Orange players wore shirts of their first amateur club at the start of training. They are thus paying attention to the National Football Weekend, during which many amateur clubs hold extra activities for their members. Thousands of fans of Orange had come to Zeist to watch the training.

Kayleigh Williams

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