DeBoer on 'very strong' Netherlands & Koeman's change of tactics

Ronald Koeman at Netherlands press conference
Ronald Koeman at Netherlands press conference

Ronald DeBoer believes the Netherlands are looking "very strong at the moment" and are "getting better" under Ronald Koeman.

The Dutch side progressed from their Euro qualifying group comfortably - winning all bar their two games against France.

The former Rangers midfielder says key players are coming into good form at the perfect time.

"Virgil van Dijk is coming to his best, Memphis Depay is coming to his best, Cody Gokpo and Xavi Simons are playing extremely well," DeBoer told the BBC's Scottish Football Podcast.

"Some young players, in the midfield we have a bunch of players like AC Milan's Tijjani Reijnders, who has had an unbelievable season so far.

"Jurrien Timber [from Arsenal] and Mats Wieffer from Feyenoord are really showing themselves on the international level, on the Champions League level. We're looking very strong at the moment."

DeBoer says Koeman switching away from the traditional Dutch 4-4-3 to a back three was a divisive move among fans, but believes the manager has made smart changes.

"It was quite a big issue because when he was announced to be the manager again he said he would go back to the 4-3-3, the traditional way, going back to pressing the opponent with wingers.

"But then with the 4-0 defeat against France and some other bad results they didn't look strong. I think he realized the result was more important at the moment than the traditional 4-3-3. And it worked well.

"For me, you have to look to the opponent. If you feel like against this opponent we can play 4-3-3, go for it, because if you have 80% of the time on the ball you don't need three men at the back.

"But if you play France, accept that underdog role and then be realistic. Don't be naive. I think that is what Koeman now realises - when you're up against stronger teams you don't have not always the best team to win in football. You have to be smart. I think that is what Koeman does now."

  • Listen to the full Scottish Football Podcast with Ronald DeBoer on the morning of Friday 22 March, on BBC Sounds.