“You can learn a lot by playing against your own age group,” said Luuk de Jong, already a senior Dutch international ahead of this summer’s Under-21 final tournament.
Luuk de Jong already has senior experience with the Netherlands, but he knows he still has plenty to prove at this summer’s UEFA European Under-21 Championship.
The VfL Borussia M├Ânchengladbach striker, who won his first full cap more than two years ago, aged 20, has since gone on to pick up six more. However, he remains part of the U21 setup and looks set to be part of the squad Cor Pot takes to Israel in June. They face a tough task against Spain, Germany and Russia in Group B.
“Every youth tournament, for every player, is an experience in itself,” said De Jong. “You can learn a lot by playing against your own age group. These are the best players in Europe and that’ll be a great experience. I have played for the senior team as well, which is another step higher, and you learn a lot from that. But here me and some other guys who also played in the senior team already, we all need to show we deserve to be part of this team.
“If you win the tournament ÔÇª that’s the thing you are hoping for. Perhaps with the qualities we have we might be able to reach that, but you have to adjust as a team first. You have to approach each game in a focused manner and fight for each other all the way ÔÇô then you might have a chance.”