Dutch Harry Maguire Virgil van Dijk should be dropped for Euro 2024 clash with England

Steven Chicken
Virgil van Dijk issues an expressive shrug while in action for the Netherlands
Virgil van Dijk...dropped? Surely not

Virgil van Dijk continues to serve as the Dutch equivalent of Harry Maguire for his national team, with criticisms of his performances and calls for him to be dropped swirling around the Dutch media ahead of the Netherlands’ semi-final clash with England on Wednesday evening.

The Liverpool centre-back has often been a divisive figure on the international stage, with the Dutch press feeling he has never really been able to live up to the world-class reputation he has carved out in the Premier League.

Voetball International editor-in-chief Pieter Zwart has led the calls for van Dijk to be dropped this summer, with the 33 year old having previously come in for criticism from former Netherlands and AC Milan striker Marco van Basten.

Strangely, van Basten’s line of punditry was that van Dijk played too conservatively with the ball at his feet, while Zwart feels he van Dijk has been inappropriately adventurous out at Euro 2024.

Zwart had commented: “Nathan Ake is national heritage – by far the best defender in the Netherlands. I also hope that someone tells Van Dijk that he should not listen to Marco van Basten. A lot of ball loss because he tries to play through the lines at times when it’s not actually possible.”

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Van Dijk is too ‘erratic’ for Netherlands

Speaking on the Hard Gras podcast, journalist Henk Spaan piled in  on van Dijk as well, saying: “I actually think that Stefan de Vrij is now the leader of the defence. Van Dijk, it’s the same as with Memphis [Depay]…you can see that there is skill, but it is so changeable and erratic.

“At one point he causes Nathan Ake to pick up yellow card because he loses an aerial duel that he shouldn’t. He then gets a yellow card himself because he cannot win a duel. It is all very laboured.”

Presumably already irritable that his novelty license plate had sold out at the Euro 2024 gift shop, Hugo Borst interjected: “If we’re being very honest, [van Dijk] should just go. Actually, Micky van de Ven would be a more obvious centre with De Vrij at this moment.”

Spaan wrapped up with a little dig at Koeman, saying: “He won’t, because he is conservative, just like Didier Deschamps. We’re not going to see those kinds of change at this stage.”