Ronald Koeman has named Bart Verbruggen as his first-choice goalkeeper for the Euro 2024 qualifying matches against Ireland and Gibraltar after the 21-year-old impressed between the sticks for Brighton and Hove Albion.
“It’s the obvious choice based on the way he’s kept goal in the last two matches,” the national men’s team coach said. “It’s not the case that Bart is 100% certain of being first choice for the European championships, but for these two matches he is.”
Verbruggen has edged ahead of Feyenoord’s Justin Bijlow, who recently returned from a wrist injury. He stood out in Brighton’s 2-0 win against Ajax in the Johan Cruyff Arena in the Europa League last week.
“If you look at how he [Verbruggen] has developed at a young age. It was the same for Bijlow, but then he got injured, which led to a different situation,” Koeman said.
Oranje will confirm their place at the summer tournament in Germany with a win against either the Republic of Ireland in Amsterdam on Saturday or minnows Gibraltar in Portugal next Tuesday, or if Greece fail to beat world cup runners-up France in their final game.
Left foot first
Koeman’s other big news ahead of the annoucement of the squad was the selection of Ajax’s 17-year-old left-back Jorrel Hato as a replacement for Manchester City’s Nathan Aké.
“I needed a left-footed player,” Koeman said. “There were other contenders, but they were all right-footed.”
The coach was dealt a blow on Monday when Ajax forwards Steven Bergwijn and Brian Brobbey declared themselves unfit to play.
“We know that a lot of players are getting injured at the moment,” Koeman said. “In our case it’s been more extreme for a while. Let’s hope things change.”
Thijs Dallinga, who has scored seven goals for Toulouse in the French league this season after moving from Excelsior, has been called up to the squad for the first time as cover.
Thank you for donating to DutchNews.nl.
We could not provide the Dutch News service, and keep it free of charge, without the generous support of our readers. Your donations allow us to report on issues you tell us matter, and provide you with a summary of the most important Dutch news each day.Make a donation