Flying fullback Denzel Dumfries has never played in a five-man defense before, but after two impressive performances in the Netherlands, he’s enjoying the new freedom it’s given him.
Dumfries exploded to become one of the stars of the first week of Euro 2020, as he scored the winning goal over Ukraine in the opening game of the Netherlands and scored again as they beat Austria 2-0 to finish first in Group C.
“I’m glad I was able to make a contribution,” he said at a news conference on Saturday. “I’m just playing my own game. In a different system than I’m used to, but it gives me an edge. I have all the space to move forward and feel good.”
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National team coach Frank de Boer used the 5-3-2 system in Group A matches and caused a stir in a country whose traditional 4-3-3 approach is almost sacred.
But the license it gave the 25-year-old to attacking at right-back justified De Boer’s decision.
Dumfries believes he will be able to do better for the Netherlands against North Macedonia in Amsterdam next Monday. “To be in a better position when I am in possession, for example, so that I can give myself more time. I also want to do more passes. There is still a lot of room for improvement.”
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Before the tournament, he indicated that he is open to a new adventure after seven seasons in the Eredivisie, the last three of which were in Eindhoven.
Speculation has risen over the possibility of him moving to a club in England, Germany or Italy, according to media reports, but questions about his next destination have been politely dismissed.
“I’m not worried about that at all right now,” he told reporters. “If you don’t mind, I’m totally focused on this tournament.”