Barcelona midfielder Frenkie de Jong enjoyed a strong second season with the Catalan giants and has taken his good form into Euro 2020 where he’s caught the eye with his displays for the Netherlands.
De Jong has been the driving force of his team’s opening two wins against Ukraine and Austria and has matched a record set previously by some of the game’s biggest names including Cristiano Ronaldo, Zinedine Zidane, and Luis Figo, as shown by Opta.
Netherlands beat Ukraine 3-2 in the team’s first match of the tournament which saw De Jong set a new mark for this season’s competition.
Frank de Boer’s side followed that up with a 2-0 win over Austria on Thursday to seal a place in the knockout rounds.
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Huge Praise For Frenkie de Jong
De Jong’s performances have seen the Barcelona midfielder come in for praise at Euro 2020. Former Netherlands international Rafael van der Vaart raved about De Jong after the win over Austria, as reported by Dutch Football.
“The man … It is unbelievable what he shows,” he said. “In his position, for the defence, I think he is perhaps the best player the Netherlands has ever had.”
De Jong also spoke about his performance after the match and was delighted to see his team win again and progress through the group, as reported by the Dutch team’s official website.
“Super fun, hopefully a lot of Dutch people will come to support us and we can also make it a party. It’s great that we already know for sure that we are first in the group,” he said. “I feel good myself. Now it’s important that we recover well and then we will see what we will do in the last group match. It is up to the coach to see who he lets play against North Macedonia.”
More To Come From De Jong at Barcelona?
De Jong’s performances at Euro 2020 suggest there is still more to come from the midfielder at Barcelona. The former Ajax man played a key role at the Camp Nou in 2020-21, playing in defense and midfield, and has told Sport he thinks he can still go up a level.
“My first year at Barça was fine, I played a lot of minutes, but in my opinion, I was just an ordinary player,” he said. “This year I’ve been able to show myself better and played better in a lot of games, although I still think I can take steps forward and keep growing. I hope we still see a better De Jong.”
De Jong also insisted he does not mind where he plays for the Catalan giants, after featuring as an emergency center-back on several occasions last season, as long as he can help the team.
“I don’t mind where the coach puts me. I prefer midfield but if I have to play at the back, I do. It’s all a question of confidence at the end of the day,” he added. “I notice that confidence from my coaches, my teammates, the media… it’s a nice feeling, so I don’t mind where I play, wherever the team needs me.”
De Jong should be able to focus on his preferred position midfield in 2021-22. The Catalan giants have already brought in Eric Garcia to strengthen the defense and continue to be linked with a host of center-backs.