Ahead of their Friday friendly against England, Netherlands’ new manager Ronald Koeman has confirmed that Liverpool centre half Virgil van Dijk will be that country’s captain as they look towards qualification for Euro 2020.
Netherlands Netherlands, despite being in Pot One based on their FIFA ranking, failed to qualify for this summer’s World Cup, coming in behind not just France in their group but also Sweden—who subsequently knocked off Italy to make it to Russia.
That Sweden managed that would seem to make Netherlands’ failure to qualify slightly more palatable, but it was still a major blow for the country, one that led to a managerial reshuffle and now the appointment of a new captain.
“It’s a nice step for Virgil,” Koeman told reporters gathered for his pre-match press conference ahead of tomorrow’s game at Wembley. “He gets more responsibility now that he has the right age and plays at a big club.”
Fellow Liverpool player Gini Wijnaldum was named an alternates by Koeman, along with Roma midfielder Kevin Strootman and Manchester United defender Daley Blind, for a side that will have to wait until 2019 to play any games that matter.
“I am very happy with it,” Van Dijk noted. “It’s a great honour to be named captain of your country. Everyone knows that Koeman gave me the chance at Southampton, and this is very special, so I am very grateful to him.”