Netherlands boss Ronald Koeman has been left shocked by the virus that has forced five of his players to leave the camp ahead of tonight’s Euro 2024 qualifier against France.
Newcastle United defender Sven Botman and Liverpool attacker Cody Gakpo were among the players to be sent home, and Koeman admits more could be impacted by the virus.
“We do not rule out the possibility that even more players could drop out, that seems likely to me,” said Koeman. “We are a bit more careful with shaking hands, but you cannot legislate for every contact.”
Matthijs de Ligt, Joey Veerman and Bart Verbruggen also withdrew from the squad but Koeman has not ruled out Botman & Co returning for the game against Gibraltar on Monday.
Koeman said: “I was shocked. I went down to the hotel lobby and I saw Joey Veerman sitting there, waiting for a taxi. Sven Botman had already left. Then you get to understand the whole situation – and you have to act quickly.
“The five who have gone home have not yet been eliminated for the entire period. It’s not definitive that they will not come back. That depends on how things develop.”
Botman is uncapped by the Netherlands but has earned his way into Koeman’s plans after hugely impressing on the Premier League stage following his £35million summer move from Ligue 1 side Lille.
The 23-year-old has made 32 appearances in total for Newcastle this season, with him and centre-back partner Fabian Schar boosting the best defensive record in England’s top-flight.
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