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Frenkie de Jong Ruled Out of Euro 2024: Assessing the Netherlands Midfield

Frenkie de Jong Ruled Out of Euro 2024: Assessing the Netherlands Midfield

Frenkie de Jong’s fitness has been a talking point for the Netherlands in the build-up to Euro 2024. The Barcelona midfielder hasn’t played since a 3-2 defeat to Real Madrid on April 21 after suffering a right ankle sprain. The 27-year-old has become a key member of Ronald Koeman’s squad, making 54 appearances since his debut in 2018.

After the Netherlands’ 4-0 against Iceland, it was announced that De Jong would miss Euro 2024 through injury. Last Word on Football looks at the days leading up to the 27-year-old’s withdrawal and assesses Oranje’s chances without their star midfielder.

Frenkie de Jong Ruled Out of Euro 2024: Assessing the Netherlands Midfield

De Jong’s Absence Big Blow for Player and Country

Netherlands manager Koeman announced on Sunday that De Jong had returned to training. However, Oranje’s medical team was being cautious with the Barcelona midfielder as they hoped to have him available for Euro 2024.

Koeman said: “He was part of the training, but we kept him away from any contact. It is possible that Frenkie will not make it to the first match.” What the former Everton manager said next raised doubts about whether De Jong would participate in this summer’s tournament.

Read More: Three Netherlands Players To Watch Out For In Euro 2024

“We can wait until the second or third game. That’s a possibility. Even if he can’t play the first two games, we’ll stick with him,” Koeman continued. “But if it looks as if he will miss the entire group stage, I might have to rethink his selection.”

De Jong hadn’t convinced his manager enough of his fitness to warrant a place in the squad. Koeman can now call up a replacement that he can count on to be fit during the group stages.

Losing a player with De Jong’s quality and experience is a major blow to the Netherlands Euro 2024 chances. The 27-year-old has been limited to just 20 La Liga appearances this season due to injury but was hoping to make up for lost time with a successful summer tournament. Instead, he faces another summer full of transfer speculation.

Netherlands Midfield Lacks Experience Without De Jong

In De Jong’s absence, the Netherlands midfield lacks players with international experience. Excluding Georginio Wijnaldum, a Dutch legend with 92 caps and 28 goals currently playing for Al-Ettifaq in the Saudi Pro League, Oranje’s other midfielders have just 33 caps combined.

Koeman is likely to pick three midfielders with one playing more advanced in front of a double pivot, where De Jong will play if he returns. Jerdy Schouten and Ryan Gravenberch started in these roles in a 4-0 win over Canada. The Liverpool midfielder played 86 minutes before Schouten’s PSV teammate Joey Veerman was introduced.

Against Iceland, the PSV teammates lined up behind AC Milan’s Tijjani Reijnders. The midfield delivered a solid performance, limiting their opponents to just one shot on target.

Read More: Three Scotland Players To Watch Out For In Euro 2024

The Eredivisie winning pair have the most chemistry out of the Netherlands’ midfield options. However, they don’t play in a top-five league and may struggle to hold their own against France in the group stage or the latter part of the competition.

When looking at the midfield options at Koeman’s disposal, it is clear De Jong’s absence significantly reduces their quality. With him, they could have been considered serious contenders to win Euro 2024. Without him, getting to the quarter-finals will be seen as a successful tournament for an inexperienced side.


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