The Netherlands national team find themselves without their usual captain for the foreseeable future, as Liverpool defender Virgil van Dijk is practically ruled out for the rest of the season following his knee surgery.
So there’s been some expectation about who will get the armband for the next few games, and as announced by manager Frank De Boer today, it’s still a player from the Reds who’ll command the Oranje, as he’s picked Georginio Wijnaldum.
“It’s of course sad that Virgil is not there. That’s a great loss. You only need to look at his achievements in recent years and what kind of personality he is within the group. But as always: as the one king falls away, the next king must rise,” said De Boer (via NOS).
“Gini is a real connector. You saw that when the racism issue was topical. He then took the pioneering role.”
Wijnaldum made his debut for the Netherlands in 2013, and already has 61 caps for the national team. Still, he only captained them once, in an Euro 2020 qualifier last year.
Players from the Dutch national team have been giving big support to Van Dijk. On Monday, Lyon star Memphis Depay explained how angry he was with Jordan Pickford’s tackle, claiming he couldn’t even repeat the words he said at the time.
The Oranje are playing Spain in a friendly on Wednesday, and then facing Bosnia on Sunday and Poland the next Wednesday, both for the Nations League.