ZEIST, Netherlands (Reuters) – Netherlands coach Ronald Koeman said he would field his strongest team against Germany in the Nations League on Saturday and would not rest players who are participating in the Champions League for Dutch clubs.
Koeman told a news conference on Tuesday that he understood the concerns of the Ajax Amsterdam and PSV Eindhoven coaches about keeping their players fresh for key Champions League games later this month, but said he would not spare anybody.
“I completely understand the position of the club coaches. I was the same for many years. (Ajax coach) Erik ten Hag, for example, asked me to watch the load of his players and we will certainly see how everyone fares this week, but I won’t be sparing anyone for the game.”
That includes Ajax’s 21-year-old midfielder Frenkie de Jong, who sat on the bench for the club’s last game because of a calf injury.
“It seems to me that if you are on the bench, then you are fit to play,” Koeman said.
Ajax are home to Benfica on Oct. 23 when the Champions League resumes while PSV welcome Tottenham Hotspur the next day.
Ajax have a win and a draw from their first two fixtures while PSV and Spurs are both looking to secure their first points.
The Netherlands has two teams in the Champions League group phase for the first time since 2010, but the national team are also hoping for an upturn in their fortunes after missing out on the last World Cup and the last European Championship.
Saturday’s match in Amsterdam is the second for both countries in the new Nations League and the Dutch will then play a friendly against neighbours Belgium in Brussels next Tuesday.
The Netherlands lost 2-1 at world champions France last month while Germany drew 0-0 with France at home.
“We will play to get results because these things matter and I’ve told my players so,” Koeman added.
(Reporting by Mark Gleeson; Editing by Toby Davis)