Koeman “makes exception” for injured stars De Jong and Memphis – DutchNews.nl

Netherlands head coach Ronald Koeman has defended his decision to include injured stars Frenkie de Jong and Memphis Depay in his preliminary squad for Euro 2024.

Koeman left out several players, including Bologna forward Joshua Zirkzee, Arsenal defender Jurriën Timber and midfielders Steven Berghuis and Mats Wieffer from the 30-man squad because they lacked match fitness.

But De Jong, who hasn’t played since suffering a sprained ankle in Barcelona’s clash with Real Madrid on April 21, was included, along with Atletico Madrid forward Memphis Depay, who is recovering from a muscle strain.

Koeman told TV show Veronica Offside he had made an exception for Memphis, Oranje’s second-highest all-time goalscorer with 44 goals in 90 matches, and De Jong, who has 54 international caps, because of their value to the squad.

“Because we can take 26 players we’ve made an exception for Frenkie de Jong,” Koeman said. “He can be fit in the run-up to the opening game.

“Memphis has played two matches in the meantime and half an hour at the weekend. I think Memphis can be reasonably fit when the tournament starts.”

Four players will have to be trimmed from the squad before Koeman submits his final selection to UEFA on June 7, but he plans to announce his decision next Wednesday, May 29.

The Dutch play warm-up matches against Canada on June 6 and Iceland on June 10 before starting their campaign against Poland in Hamburg on June 16.

The crucial clash with group seeds France is in Leipzig on June 21, followed by the final group game against Austria in Berlin June 25.

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