AMSTERDAM: Netherlands coach Frank de Boer said it would be too disruptive to bring a new player into the squad so close to the European Championship as he attempted on Tuesday to explain a surprise decision not to name a replacement for the injured Donny van de Beek.
"To join the squad at this stage of our preparations is not exactly ideal," he said in a statement issued by the Dutch football association KNVB after a reaction of disbelief to the decision in the media.
"We have been on the road for two weeks, and so I don't like the idea of a new player arriving.
"I also have enough midfielders in my squad to absorb the blow. Of course, there can always be a situation where I change my mind, but at the moment I prefer to leave the squad as it is."
Van de Beek, 24, was ruled out earlier on Tuesday with an unspecified injury, leaving the Dutch with 25 players though 26 for are allowed.
"It is always sad when a player has to drop out injured," De Boer added.
He did get some good news, however, as Matthijs de Ligt rejoined training on Tuesday.
The 21-year-old central defender had a groin complaint and sat out Sunday’s warm-up friendly against Georgia and trained on his own on Monday.
He now has just days to prove his fitness before the Dutch open their campaign against the Ukraine in Amsterdam on Sunday.
(Writing by Mark Gleeson in Cape Town; Editing by Andrew Cawthorne)