Ronald Koeman gave his pre-match press conference on Friday ahead of the Netherlands clash with the Republic of Ireland.

Koeman has been hit with a number of injuries, especially in defence, but the head coach is not worried. According to Voetbal International, he said, “I think we are missing seven or eight central defenders, but if you look at what we have left… Then we can be really happy that we have so many good central defenders.”

Koeman confirmed that Jorrel Hato would not start the game and that he is positive because of having Virgil van Dijk available, “I never had any doubts about Virgil. It could also be the team, Liverpool is now stronger again. There are times in your career when things don’t go as well. I think he is a fantastic player, captain and person. I have always had good contact with him.”

Thijs Dallinga has made a good impression on Koeman and can hope for minutes, “Thijs made a good impression. During a week like this you try to follow new players and see how they move within a group. But also how they receive the ball, how they finish and I am very satisfied with that. I thought you saw in a number of moments that he is a real striker, in his movement and finishing.”

Xavi Simons is thriving at club level but has so far struggled to impress in Oranje. Koeman is not worried about this, “I don’t agree that he is inferior to the Dutch team. Of course he has had bad moments, but I am very happy that we have such a player in our Dutch team.”

Koeman also confirmed that Virgil van Dijk will be the first penalty-taker going into the game ahead of Wout Weghorst and Cody Gakpo, “Virgil is number one. Wout was number one against Greece, but that has changed. Yes, Gakpo was still number one against Ireland, but the choice fell on Virgil.”

Koeman confirmed that Jerdy Schouten would get minutes in one of the games but would not say for certain that he will start against the Republic of Ireland.

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