After converting from the spot during the Netherlands 1-0 victory over Greece, captain Virgil van Dijk will remain the Dutch national team’s first-choice penalty taker this international period. Head coach Ronald Koeman confirmed the news on Friday, ahead of his side’s Euro qualifier with Ireland.
During the Euro qualifying match won by the Netherlands against Ireland in early September, Cody Gakpo took the penalty kick that the Dutch received in Dublin. The Liverpool forward converted but was absent during October’s international break, when the Netherlands were awarded two spot kicks in Greece. Former Manchester United striker Wout Weghorst missed the first, the second was fired into the back of the net by Virgil van Dijk.
Speaking to the media on Friday afternoon, Ronald Koeman said ‘Even now that Cody is part of the group again, Virgil is number one as a penalty taker. The former Southampton and Barcelona boss added, ‘I am also critical of him (Van Dijk) when necessary, but he is a great person and a great captain. You see that now Liverpool is running better, he is also running better. That’s how it works.’ The Netherlands vs Ireland takes place on Saturday night at the Johan Cruyff Arena.