Ronald Koeman held a press conference on Tuesday to discuss the Dutch national team ahead of the European Championship qualifiers with Republic of Ireland and Gibraltar.

The Netherlands just need one win from the two games to seal European qualification and Koeman is keen to have that sealed on Saturday against the Republic of Ireland, “The most important thing this week is that we win on Saturday and qualify for the European Championships.”

On the return of PSV midfielder Jerdy Schouten to the squad, Koeman said, “I think it is right that he is there. Based on what he shows at his club. Nationally, but also at Champions League level. I recognize his qualities.”

Asked whether the fact he is playing for PSV is a factor rather than Bologna, Koeman said, “If Bologna had played in the Champions League, it wouldn’t have mattered. This is not to say that the Italian league is not strong. I was once in Italy when Memphis Depay was injured. Then I went to AS Roma to look for Justin Kluivert, and I thought Schouten was the best on the field. But it is clear: when you return to the Netherlands, you will be in the spotlight much more. And you play at Champions League level. I don’t lose sleep over a match if PSV wins easily. I do look, but I don’t think that’s the norm. The standard is mainly Champions League level.”

On the call-up of Thijs Dallinga, Koeman said, “I think he was surprised. I saw him on TV. Then I tell him to keep his eyes open. During these days there is plenty of time to sit down together. Thijs is a player who is developing, plays in a strong competition. He also plays European. He has scoring ability. It is clear that when you make a selection, you want the positions to be double occupied. My preference for Wout and Brobbey was and is there. But dropouts make you look further. Then he comes into the picture.”

On his recent criticism of Brian Brobbey, Koeman said, “I’m surprised that it has become such an item. What I said to him is that I think I should have protected him a little more. I am a bad politician, you are sometimes punished for that. I should have defended him more at that moment. I told him that. I have already selected him a number of times, but it was not based on his playing minutes. He was already in the picture then. I think he has developed well in the last period. He’s strong, fast, dangerous. With definitely still plenty to improve. But apparently you’re not always allowed to say that.”

Koeman is not thinking of tinkering with his system in the coming games, “I want to continue as we have done. There is plenty of time towards the European Championships to think about something else. It turns out that we can go in several directions, and we can show that in these two matches.”

On whether or not Quinten Timber was a candidate for the squad, Koeman said, “Fortunately we have a lot of competition in several positions. You compete against players you have previously selected. It is clear that Timber is doing well, you also saw that against AZ. Then he was the best Feyenoord player. If he continues, you have to make a decision. Everything is open towards a European Championship.  Sometimes it can go very quickly. Reijnders joined, now everyone is putting him in the first eleven. It also depends on whether you have a permanent group.”

Koeman confirmed that Bart Verbruggen is his number one goalkeeper going into these matches and that Daley Blind was a candidate to start as a centre-back.

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