youngsters tease and talk about baptism with Timber

youngsters tease and talk about baptism with Timber

NOS Soccer

  • Thierry Boon

    Follows Jong Oranje on behalf of NOS

  • Thierry Boon

    Follows Jong Oranje on behalf of NOS

Special conversations at Jong Oranje: ‘Nice that Timber shared that with me’

It’s all or nothing tonight for Jong Oranje at the European Championships. It all comes down to the final group match against host country Georgia. And just now, captain Quinten Timber will not be there. Wouter Burger is ready to make up for his absence.

The Mikheil Meskhi Stadium Saturday night, just before halftime of Portugal-Netherlands, score 1-0. The physique coach steps up to Burger and indicates that he can get ready for a fill-in right after halftime.

Timber is on yellow and coach Erwin van de Looi does not want to take a risk. He also knows that with the former Feyenoord player Burger he has an excellent alternative in midfield. And his 1 meter 90 can always come in handy.

Minute 78, corner kick for the youngsters. Kenneth Taylor crosses, Burger heads through and Brian Brobbey taps in: the important equalizer is there. Thanks in part to the head of substitute Burger.

Watch the summary of Jong Portugal-Jong Oranje

“At my club FC Basel, I was already becoming more and more dangerous with my head in recent weeks. I’m already getting close to the ball more often. Heading could still be better, but I’m getting closer and closer to a goal. I think it can become a quality of mine in the future,” Burger reflected.

Sneaking forward

“Whether we had rehearsed him like that? I’ll be honest: I wasn’t actually allowed to get in front of the goal, but had to be on the sixteen. But we had to force something, so I went with it,” he laughed on the interior terrace of the players’ hotel.

“I told Kenneth where to put him down. And he put him right there. And Brobbey? I think that was the intuition of a real striker.” Thanks to that goal, Jong Oranje still has a good chance of advancing.

For Burger, too, his assist was a nice boost. He had a good season full of playing minutes with Basel, with whom he reached the semifinals of the Conference League. At the Dutch Junior side, however, he knows a role as a substitute.

Van de Looi already made that clear to Burger when he visited Switzerland. With Ryan Gravenberch and Quinten Timber, the competition is cutthroat. Still, Burger is important to the group. On the field and off.

He is on the players’ council for a reason, along with captains Timber and Micky van de Ven and striker Joshua Zirkzee. Burger, a child of Feyenoord, has his word and values a good team spirit.

Curious to see how the Dutch Junior Team is doing in Tbilisi? In our Youtube series “Young Orange, class of ’23,” Quilindschy Hartman gives a hotel tour.

Hartman’s hotel tour: exclusive sneak peek at players’ hotel Jong Oranje in Tbilisi

The 22-year-old Burger from Zuid-Beijerland is visibly enjoying the group these days. “With a lot of guys here I grew up in soccer. Soccer friends I call it. That sometimes produces great conversations,” he says beaming.

An hour and a half of talk

Burger gives an example. “We drove the bus to the airport after training camp in Austria. I was sitting with Quinten (Timber, ed.) and there were a lot of people around us listening to music, but we didn’t feel like it.”

“Then we talked for an hour and a half about our families, life and faith. Different things we hadn’t talked about with each other for a very long time.”

The two got into a conversation about baptism. “I was only baptized as a child. Quinten said he was baptized again last year, as an adult. He thought it was a wonderful and emotional day. I loved that he shared that with me.”

Wouter Burger as a player of Feyenoord

Sometimes deep conversations, sometimes superficial nattering. It’s the mix that makes it so nice for Burger. If jokes can be pulled off, he’s also up front.

For example at the end of March, when the Dutch Junior Team went to Spain for a training camp. Burger and co had convinced the newcomers that rookies always pay for the food.

When the recruited staff arrived with an ATM machine and a huge bill, the youngsters got a little hot under the collar. “They fell for that one,” Burger chuckles.

The midfielder also discusses his time at Basel.

Is Burger getting enough attention with Basel? ‘You shouldn’t be media horny’

Things are still all relaxed, this Sunday during the press moment at the Marriott, on Tbilisi’s busiest street, where Jong Oranje has taken over much of the hotel.

The greatest Dutch soccer talents know what they have to do: win against Young Georgia. In a match that will most likely go down in history anyway.

Georgian witchcraft?

After two games in a virtually empty stadium, the scene will look very different Tuesday night. Last Sunday, over 41,000 Georgian fans sat in the stands of Paichadze Stadium, further down the road in Tbilisi.

Never before have so many people sat in a stadium during the European Under-21 Championship. And a few thousand more could fit in. Case of “lion’s den,” although Burger says that doesn’t matter much.

“There’s an athletic track around it, right? Then you hear that sound a little less, haha. No, but that’s only beautiful. We’re all used to a little bit. For the guys from Georgia, it’s nice that it’s so alive, but for us, too.”

European Junior Championship live at NOS

The matches of Jong Oranje at the European Championship can be seen live at NOS, via streams, on TV and on the YouTube account of NOS Sport.

Host country Georgia is tonight’s third and final opponent in the group stage (6 p.m.).

Kayleigh Williams