Euro 2020: Time for some Dutch Delight?

The golden generation of Dutch footballers has emerged from all parts of Europe to bring back the delightful days in Holland. Sheffield Wednesday’s Dutch defensive midfielder Joey Pelupessy is confident that a new wave of players will have a considerable impact on the future of Dutch football. The Netherlands was on the international stage last time when they secured a third-place finish at the 2014 World Cup, beating Brazil.

“The country is happy again because it has been a difficult time for us after the 2010 World Cup as we did not qualify for the 2016 European Championship and the 2018 World Cup,” spoke Pelupessy.

Joey Pelupessy

The UEFA Nations League was introduced to make the international fixtures more entertaining and pump in extra money for the lower-ranked nations. The Netherlands reached the finals of the tournament only to be beaten by European champions Portugal by a one-goal margin.

“For the Dutch people, it is good because we reached the final in its first edition. It has a lot of friendly games with different international teams, which has a positive feeling to it.”

Their impressive performances against Germany, France and England in the Nations League displayed their calibre as serious contenders for any competition they enter. The Netherlands will look to add a major trophy to their cabinet after suffering those World Cup heartaches in 2010 and 2014.

“Everything is working out for us as a unit because there are outstanding players in the squad and a thrilling manager. Hopefully, we will qualify for the upcoming Euro Championship and perform well in the tournament after waiting so long,” said 26-year-old Pelupessy.

Frenkie de Jong and Matthijs de Ligt earned big moves to Barcelona and Juventus respectively after their extraordinary performances for Ajax in the 2018-19 Champions League. Erik ten Hag has not only shaped Ajax into a young force to reckon but at the same time provided Dutch football bright stars for the future.

“The Ajax academy has always been world-class, producing exceptional players, but there was a period where we had to wait for new players. We are completely fine for the next ten years after looking at our U-19 and U-21 teams,” Pelupessy added. Ajax is renowned for producing great attacking players such as Johan Cruyff, Dennis Bergkamp, and Wesley Sneijder who have succeeded in various European leagues. Their reputation as one of the best academies will continue to prevail until they keep providing the world with players that shine bright for both club and country.

Matthijs de Ligt and Frenkie de Jong at Ajax last season
Picture courtesy: LiveScore

Liverpool’s Virgil van Dijk won the PFA’s Player of the Year award last season and is among the favourites to win the 2019 Ballon d’Or, competing with the likes of Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi. His impressive run of 36 league games without allowing a single opposition player to dribble past him speaks about the defensive qualities he possesses.

“The Dutch teams were usually known for their attacking players who left defence with some problems. We now have one of the best defenders of the game in Van Dijk who can help Matthijs reach that level someday,” Pelupessy on the Dutch defensive pairing.

Ronald Koeman is working wonders as the manager of Netherlands national football team after his appointment in 2018, replacing Dick Advocaat who failed to qualify for the 2018 World Cup. He guided Southampton to their highest ever Premier League finish, sixth place, in 2016.

Koeman is among the greatest defenders to have ever played for the Netherlands, winning the European Championship and the treble with PSV Eindhoven in 1988.

“As a manager, he has already proved his worth at club level and is doing well with the Netherlands on his first international team job. He knows how to get the best out of young guys, making him perfect for the job.”

Pelupessy is eager to make an impact in English football that could earn him his first international call up. Although, stiff competition in midfield means that he needs to work hard on his attributes to make some room in the squad.

“I am always motivated when it comes to football, and it is my dream to wear the Oranje shirt for the main team. I have represented my country at the U-16 and U-20 level, and it would be a delight to have it again at the main stage,” Pelupessy on his aspirations.

Owls dream for a Premier League return

Sheffield Wednesday missed out on a play-off spot last season after losing crucial games against Aston Villa and Leeds in the final stage of the season. With Sheffield United earning a promotion to the topflight, Pelupessy insists that the Owls need to step up their game.

Hillsborough stadium, Sheffield

Promotion to the Premier League will put Pelupessy in the limelight and provide a chance for Wednesday to increase their financial revenue.

“Unfortunately, we had a bad start last season, but we are aiming for promotion this term. We almost reached the playoffs, and I think we can finish in the top six after a good start this season,” Pelupessy told SportyCorner.

Rejuvenated squad

After failing to qualify for back to back major competitions, it seems that the Netherlands is ready for a comeback on the international stage as Matthijs de Ligt, Frenkie de Jong and Donny van de Beek form a backbone of the Dutch team for years to come.

Justin Kluivert is the son of legendary Dutchman, Patrick Kluivert, and a one to watch out for as he aims to follow the footsteps of his father. The 20-year-old winger has already made two appearances for the Netherlands and could be a big name in football just like his father.

The future of Dutch football has urged for more buoyancy over the recent years as their preparation for the Euro 2020 continues. Only time will tell if the new batch of young players is ready for the upcoming challenges.

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