A 34-man Netherlands provisional squad for the European Championships was named on Friday by Frank de Boer. The Oranje boss now has some tough decisions to make before trimming eight players at the end of the month. Michael Bell looks at the decisions facing the head coach.

Which goalkeeper gets cut?

This is possibly the easiest decision that De Boer has to make this month with Jasper Cillessen and Tim Krul assured of a place in the squad. De Boer must then choose between Ajax’s Maarten Stekelenburg and AZ Alkmaar’s Marco Bizot. At the moment, Stekelenburg seems the clear winner after he stepped in for Andre Onana in Amsterdam.

My prediction: Bizot gets cut

Four right backs down to two

De Boer has decided to name four right-back’s in his squad, highlighting the fact that he is struggling to decide who deserves a spot in his squad. Last week, De Boer was on Dutch television and he mentioned that Denzel Dumfries has his full support and he appears to be first-choice at the moment. However, he must now decide whether Kenny Tete (Fulham), Rick Karsdorp (AS Roma) or Hans Hateboer (Atalanta) will be back-up.

Karsdorp has been in excellent form for AS Roma this season and out of the three he deserves the call-up the most. Tete has been relegated with Fulham, while Hateboer has had injury issues with Atalanta. Hateboer has also struggled to impress whenever pulling on an Oranje shirt.

De Boer will use the training camp between the 24th and 26th of May to make his decision.

My prediction: Dumfries and Tete will go to the Championships. De Boer sees Tete as the defensive option against the stronger nations and I think he will get the nod over Karsdorp, who does deserve a spot.

Karsdorp and Hateboer get cut

Timber, Veltman or St Juste?

De Boer is without Virgil van Dijk at the back but the centre of defence is a strong point for the Netherlands with Matthijs de Ligt and Stefan de Vrij set to form a partnership in the centre. Then De Boer has Nathan Ake and Daley Blind, who is expected to be fit in time, as back-up.

In the squad, Joel Veltman offers versatility but so do the uncapped duo of Jurrien Timber (Ajax) and Jeremiah St Juste (Mainz) have also been named. All three can be played in the centre or on the right of defence.

Timber may only be 19 but he has been hugely impressive for Ajax and he will get the chance to impress De Boer in the training camp. This may see him pushed ahead of St Juste.

My Prediction: St Juste to get cut. Timber and Veltman go to the Euro’s.

The left back position

Again this one seems rather straightforward for De Boer. Owen Wijndal is the first choice at the moment and De Boer will have Daley Blind and Nathan Ake, who can cover. Patrick van Aanholt looks the odd man out and is likely to miss out.

My prediction: Van Aanholt misses out.

The midfield battle!

Frenkie de Jong and Georginio Wijnaldum are certain to be in the squad, along with Marten de Roon, who is key against the stronger nations. Despite his lack of playing time, Donny van de Beek will be there, along with Davy Klaassen.

De Boer is a big fan of Ryan Gravenberch meaning the Ajax youngster will get a place, leaving Teun Koopmeiners and Tonny Vilhena battling for a spot. Koopmeiners is an excellent prospect and should get the nod ahead of Vilhena, who has struggled in Russia this season.

My prediction: Vilhena gets cut

Who gets the nod on the wings?

De Boer surprised many with the omission of Ryan Babel and Calvin Stengs, who will not be going to the Euro’s. At the moment, only Steven Berghuis is assured of a spot in the squad.

That leaves Cody Gakpo (PSV), Anwar El Ghazi (Aston Villa), Quincy Promes (Spartak Moscow), and Steven Bergwijn (Tottenham) battling it out for a place in the squad.

In terms of form, Gakpo deserves his spot and I think he will get it. He could be joined by El Ghazi, who has been impressive for Aston Villa in the Premier League. However, will De Boer cut Bergwijn, who is more experienced? Promes at the moment seems like the one that is favourite to be cut.

Again this is one that will go down to the wire, with De Boer likely to see them in action before making his final decision.

My prediction: Promes to get cut and then it is a toss of a coin between Bergwijn and El Ghazi. My head says El Ghazi will not make it. Will be interesting to see how Arjen Robben performs in the European playoffs. If he stars then a spot isn’t out of the question.

Four strikers in the squad?

Wout Weghorst has been a major talking point around the Netherlands squad but it looks like he is set to finally get the nod from De Boer after an excellent campaign for Wolfsburg.

Memphis Depay is certain of his place in the line-up, while Luuk de Jong will also be there despite his lack of form for Sevilla. PSV Eindhoven forward Donyell Malen has scored more goals than any other player in the squad this season and also deserves his spot.

Malen and Memphis can also be deployed on the wings, making all four strikers almost certain of a place.

My prediction: No strikers get cut. All four will be in the squad.

Who will be captain?

Virgil van Dijk’s absence means that the captain armband is up for grabs and De Boer has a decision to make.

During the last internationals, Georginio Wijnaldum took the armband, but Memphis Depay and Daley Blind could also be captain. Matthijs de Ligt is also a leader, so De Boer has options.

My prediction: Wijnaldum will get the nod, although Memphis seems the obvious choice given the fact he is a better motivator.




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