The European Championships has been delayed by a year and will now take place in 2021 due to the coronavirus. This may be a shame for fans of Oranje, but there are plenty of reasons why the delay is a positive for Netherlands.

  • By Michael Bell
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Memphis Depay should be back

The talisman for Netherlands under Ronald Koeman was at risk of missing the tournament after suffering a cruciate ligament injury.

Memphis has been working extremely hard to return to fitness in time for the tournament, and may have been pushing his body a bit too hard. This could have resulted in irreversible issues in the future.

With the tournament now pushed back for a year, Memphis can now take his recovery easy and focus on coming back stronger and fitter for the start of next season.

The importance of Memphis in this Netherlands side cannot be underestimated, with the forward netting eight goals and providing five assists in 12 games under Koeman.

The Lyon leading the line for Netherlands will be a huge bonus.

Malen and Bergwijn

Memphis was not the only injury issue for Koeman heading into this summer.

PSV Eindhoven striker Donyell Malen, who was seen as the most likely replacement for Memphis if he didn’t recover in time, also suffered a season ending injury. The explosive forward had an excellent start to his season for PSV and would have been a big miss for the tournament.

Steven Bergwijn was also a major doubt for Koeman after suffering an injury for Tottenham recently. The winger has been a regular for Netherlands since Koeman took charge and his absence, along with Malen and Memphis would have left Oranje lacking pace up front.

Of course other injuries could occur between now and next year, but Koeman will be elated at the possibility of having Memphis, Malen and Bergwijn all back.

A year for Koeman to iron out problem areas

Koeman has worked wonders since taking over the Netherlands but his squad still has a number of question marks surrounding it.

Firstly in goal! Jasper Cillessen has been the unchallenged number one for Oranje, but he has not been able to hold down his place at Valencia, and has had several shaky moments this season. Meanwhile, Marco Bizot has had an excellent campaign for AZ Alkmaar, and Tim Krul has made headlines with Norwich City. Then there is youngster Justin Bijlow, who has recovered from injury and is earning rave reviews at Feyenoord. Cillessen’s place in goal is now being challenged and Koeman needs to consider his options.

Koeman must also consider whether Daley Blind and Denzel Dumfries should remain his first-choice full-backs. Atalanta duo Hans Hateboer and Robin Gosens are pushing for call-ups, while Owen Wijndal has emerged as a major talent for AZ Alkmaar.

In midfield, Frenkie de Jong and Georginio Wijnaldum will remain starters, but who joins them? Marten de Roon and Donny van de Beek are the obvious choices, but Teun Koopmeiners now has a year to prove he should be the third man in the middle. Tonny Vilhena, Kevin Strootman, Pablo Rosario, Davy Klaassen and more now have a year to stake a claim too.

Then there is up front. Memphis Depay will be the starting striker if he is fit but who partners him on the wings? Surely the delay spells the end of Ryan Babel’s time in Oranje, but there are plenty of exciting forwards battling for a spot in the Euro squad.

Development for young guns

There are several young talents pushing for a place at the European Championships, and another year of development can only be a good thing for Koeman and the national team.

Talents Myron Boadu, Mohammed Ihattaren, Calvin Stengs, Wijndal, Koopmeiners, and Justin Kluivert were all named in the recent Netherlands provisional squad for the cancelled friendlies against Spain, and the USA after excelling this season.

They will all be aiming to be in the squad for the Euro’s next year and a year of development will only help them. Then there is 18-year-old striker Joshua Zirkzee, who is just breaking into the Bayern Munich first-team. Can he thrust himself into Koeman’s plans?

There is an abundance of talent making waves in the Netherlands at the moment and in a year, there could be several youngsters making a name for themselves at the Euro’s.

De Jong and De Ligt can find their form

Since making big moves in the summer, Matthijs de Ligt and Frenkie de Jong have been on the end of some criticism from the press.

De Ligt has been in and out of the Juventus eleven after a very difficult start to his time in Italy, while De Jong has struggled with a more advanced role at Barcelona.

Both players are extremely key to Koeman and going into the tournament low in confidence would have been an issue. However, both players now have an extra year to adapt to their new clubs, and find their form ahead of the Euro’s.




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