The Ronald Koeman era begins this Friday as Netherlands welcome England to the Amsterdam ArenA. The match kicks-off at 7.45pm. 

After the failure to qualify for the World Cup this summer, Koeman has stepped in to oversee a Dutch national team, which is set to head into a qualifying campaign for Euro 2020 without any of their traditional star names.

Arjen Robben, and Wesley Sneijder may be gone, but Koeman has a new generation of Dutch talents to pick from as he looks to mould a team that can also challenge Germany and France at the UEFA Nations League later this year.

Ajax winger Justin Kluivert, AZ trio Marco Bizot, Guus Til and Wout Weghorst are all new faces in the squad, along with Atalanta right-back Hans Hateboer as Netherlands welcome England to Amsterdam on Friday before travelling to Portugal on Monday.

England will be in Russia this summer after a straightforward qualifying campaign which saw Gareth Southgate’s side undefeated in ten group games. The English coach is looking to experiment against Netherlands, having called up Nick Pope, James Tarkowski, Alfie Mawson and Lewis Cook for the first time.

Team News

Koeman was coy on his team selection and tactics during his press conference but confirmed that the 4-3-3 formation is not in his plans. Netherlands are expected to go forward with a 5-3-2.

It remains to be seen how Koeman looks to solve Netherlands midfield problem which has been an issue ever since Louis van Gaal left, with Kevin Strootman and Georginio Wijnaldum struggling to form a partnership over the last few years. Up front, Koeman could go for a big striker and speedy winger combination or go with two pacey forwards to stretch the English backline.

Virgil van Dijk is the new Netherlands captain and will oversee the defence, which could also feature 18-year-old Ajax sensation Matthijs de Ligt.

Possible Netherlands XI: Cillessen, Hateboer, Van Aanholt, De Vrij, Van Dijk, De Ligt, Strootman, van de Beek, Wijnaldum, Memphis, Promes/Dost

England are without star striker Harry Kane who is injured but have plenty of attacking talent that will trouble Netherlands including Raheem Sterling, Jamie Vardy and Dele Alli. Left-back Ryan Bertrand and midfielder Jack Wilshere both pulled out injured earlier this week.

Southgate has used a three-man defence in recent matches and may look to match Netherlands formation on Friday.

Possible England XI: Pickford; Walker, Dier, Stones, Maguire, Young; Henderson, Lallana; Alli, Vardy, Sterling


Netherlands 31/20 Draw 9/4 England 21/10

Head to Head

Netherlands have a good recent record against England having not lost to the Three Lions in their last seven meetings since that 4-1 defeat at Euro 1996. The last two matches have ended in Netherlands wins, a 3-2 victory in 2012 and 2-1 in 2016.

The two nations have met 32 times since 1907, with Netherlands winning 9 times, England 13 and 10 games ending in a draw. However, 10 of those England wins were before 1951.

For more on the classic meetings by Netherlands and England click here.

Players to Watch

Memphis Depay

Koeman challenged Memphis to step up and lead during his press conference and the winger himself also stated that he wants to take the national team in tow. On his day, Memphis can light up any game but consistency has his biggest issue for Lyon this season. He has scored ten goals this season but has often been benched for frustrating performances.

Memphis scored the winner against Scotland during the last international break and will be looked at to provide some trickery and pace up front. It’s time for Memphis to put his talent where his mouth is and finally prove he is a worthy replacement for Robben going forward.

Raheem Sterling

The winger has been excellent for Manchester City this season, scoring 20 goals and providing 11 assists in 37 games.

He will be a big threat to the Dutch defence with his pace, movement and trickery up front as he looks to finally replicate his club form for his country. In 35 international matches, Sterling has only contributed two goals.

Justin Kluivert

Kluivert has had a rapid rise over the past year, forcing himself into the Ajax first team and now he is on the cusp of making his Netherlands debut at the age of 18.

The Ajax forward is likely to start on the bench but may see some action in the second half which will see him emulate his father Patrick, who also made his Oranje debut at 18.

Blessed with lightning pace, trickery and fearlessness, Kluivert could dazzle the ArenA on Friday if given the chance. He is certainly one Dutchman with a massive future.

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