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Netherlands defender Van de Ven expects a tough battle against England’s defence

Netherlands defender Micky van de Ven is expecting a tough battle against an England side he says “play defensively” in Wednesday’s Euro 2024 semi-final.

Van de Ven had an outstanding first year at Tottenham following his move from Wolfsburg – becoming an integral part of Ange Postecoglou’s first team and forming a strong defensive partnership with Cristian Romero.

That didn’t earn him a starting spot against the Netherlands, however, as Van de Ven had to settle for a regular place among the substitutes.

The 23-year-old is likely to be on the bench again in the match against England in Dortmund as the Dutch face a team that has received a lot of criticism for the way they played in Germany.

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Van de Ven told a press conference this morning: “When you see the quality of the players from both teams, I think you can expect that the quality and rhythm of the game will be really high.

“I hope that we will have more ball than England so that it will be England who run, but I expect a very intense game.

“We understand that they spoke badly in the English media but they entered the semi-finals. That says it all about the English team. I think they play defensively but we will go and analyze them properly tonight, but what I can say is that they have high quality.”

Gakpo thrives in a wide left role

Van de Ven was joined in front of the media by Cody Gakpo, the Liverpool striker who has scored his best three goals to date.

Gakpo played in the middle for Liverpool last season but, under Ronald Koeman, he operated on the left side of the three and was successful.

He said: “I was a left winger before [moving to Liverpool] and that was always my favorite but in the last year and a half, the coach needed me to play somewhere else and I tried to do my best in it.

“I learned a lot from the manager [Jurgen Klopp] and that improved me a lot as a person and as a player. I’m very happy with the move I made.”

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