de Ligt on his backup role at the World Cup: ‘I’m okay with it’

de Ligt on his backup role at the World Cup: ‘I’m okay with it’

Matthijs De Ligt

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In the Dutch national team, Matthijs de Ligt hardly plays a role at the World Cup. That was to be expected for the Bayern defender, however.

While Matthijs de Ligt performs well at Bayern Munich and receives corresponding praise, he only plays a small role for the Netherlands at the World Cup. However, he is not surprised that he hardly plays under Louis van Gaal.

After a short phase at the beginning of the season, in which Matthijs de Ligt still had to get used to Bayern’s intense and demanding style of play, he was one of the regular players in central defence. As long as he was fit and ready for action, Julian Nagelsmann set him up as well as ever.

A different picture is currently emerging for the Dutch national team. While the 23-year-old played from the starting XI in the first group game, he was only on the bench for the other two preliminary round games. In the round of 16 against the USA he was substituted on shortly before the final whistle.

However, this does not cause him displeasure. The opposite is true: de Ligt embraces his backup role and points to the importance of team success.

“I know my role”: de Ligt with a focus on team success

“Honestly, it’s not that frustrating. Every player wants to play, but we’re a group of 26 players,” he explained to the portal The Athletic (via table football). “Honestly I’ve played more than I expected at this World Cup. I didn’t expect to play at all.”

This is not due to Louis van Gaal’s lack of appreciation for him. The problem is more the basic order in 3-5-2, which the Bonds coach has continued and established. As a right central defender in a back three, who then – depending on the course of the game – almost has to act as a right-back, the Munich native cannot really bring his strengths to bear.

With Jurrien Timber, Elftal has a player who fulfills this role perfectly. That’s why de Ligt is at a disadvantage compared to him.

“I’m okay with that. We won together and are in the quarter-finals,” he emphasized instead of the joint success. He himself also focused on the style of play, which he currently doesn’t like as much as others. “The coach decides differently, that’s okay with me. I know my role and train hard every day to be important for the team.”

Meanwhile, he had a “great” debut at Bayern: “I’m having a really good time there and already feel at home. I’m really happy that it worked out with Bayern.”

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This article was originally published on as de Ligt on his backup role at the World Cup: ‘I’m okay with it’ released.


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