Ronald Koeman criticised for selecting Andries Noppert and Daley Blind in Netherlands squad

Pundits on Ziggo Sport were vocal on the squad selection from Ronald Koeman as they prepare for their UEFA Nations League campaign. 

Ronald de Boer and Ronald Waterreus argued about some of the players who have been called up for the Netherlands squad as they prepare to face Croatia at De Kuip.

Oranje play hosts in this summer’s competition and have a good chance of winning the competition but there were questions in particular about the selection of Andries Noppert and Daley Blind. 

Despite a lack of playing time, the duo received the call-ups which has frustrated seven-time capped Waterreus although understands where Koeman is coming from for the goalkeeper options considering the lack of options available to him, especially with the likes of Jasper Cillessen out-of-form.

He said: “The fact that Jasper Cillessen is not among them is understandable. We’ve all seen that.” Cillessen dropped out after a bad run of form at NEC, while in addition to Justin Bijlow and Mark Flek, Noppert, who had returned from injury, returned to the group.

“I find it very odd that Noppert is there with one match in six months.” Waterreus continued his account. The former goalkeeper did not understand much of Koeman’s choice. “If Frenkie de Jong had played one, I would have understood. But Noppert hasn’t played goalkeeper for six months, then it’s strange that you’re right with the Oranje squad.”

Ronald de Boer had more understanding for Noppert’s return, who had been struggling with an injury for months. “He has won a fantastic World Cup and built up credit. And I don’t think he will be goalkeeper in the Nations League. He is there as third goalkeeper. That’s nice for him, you also have to bring three. He also has the potential. It’s a goalkeeper you’ll probably enjoy.”

Waterreus found it difficult to understand his fellow analyst who still feels Noppert should not have been considered after making just one league appearance having been on the sidelines for four months with a muscle injury. 

The former Rangers and PSV Eindhoven goalkeeper said: “It’s professional football, right? If you don’t take Jasper with you, I would always select Bart Verbruggen. He will go to the European Championship with the U21s, so that is the explanation, but after one match Noppert is already taking it… That is really exaggerated.”

The presence of Blind also raises questions since he has hardly hit the mark at Bayern Munich. Since the appointment of Thomas Tuchel as the new head coach at the Allianz Arena, the veteran has not been part of the German national champion which has led to Marco van Basten’s criticism. 

He said: “That’s [Blind’s selection] strange. I think it should be the case that players have rhythm when they join the Orange squad.”

“If you’ve played as little as Blind, it’s difficult. Ronald looks at guys he already knows. He selects players he has already used a lot and wants to forge a unity. Only this choice for Blind is too much.”

According to De Boer, it is Blind’s last international match period in the Oranje squad. “You already have Nathan Aké and Tyrell Malacia in his position, while in midfield Lutsharel Geertruida, Mats Wieffer and Frenkie [De Jong] can play in his role. Blind deserves all the respect, but this is his last piece of art.”

Koeman is currently in his second spell as Netherlands head coach after replacing Louis van Gaal who left the role after the 2022 World Cup in Qatar. His return to Oranje did not get off to the best of starts with a 4-0 defeat to France in the European Championship qualifiers but did manage a 3-0 against minnows Gibraltar.

GBeNeFN | Tom Phillips

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