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Frank De Boer hopes Barcelona move can lift Memphis Depay’s game to new level

Netherlands Austria Euro 2020 Soccer
(Image credit: John Thys)

Holland head coach Frank De Boer hopes Memphis Depay’s move to Barcelona can inspire the forward to great things at Euro 2020.

Barca announced on Saturday that the 27-year-old will join them on a two-year deal when his current contract with Lyon expires at the end of this month.

Depay has scored one goal in Holland’s opening two Group C wins over Ukraine and Austria, but has received criticism for his general level of play.

De Boer admits sorting his club future out comes as a relief.

“I think Memphis is the first person to criticise his own game and say I can do better than I have shown so far,” he said. “I am also sure that he is not going to become another player when he receives this kind of criticism, he is really self-confident and he knows exactly what he wants.

“This is his own strength. He knows whether he played well or not. Let’s hope as well for Holland and football itself that he can reach the level we have in mind.

“But still he is really important for us as a team. We are all looking for an improvement.

“It is a relief, maybe subconsciously it is part of your ideas in your head his transfer to Barcelona, so it might give you something extra to perform at the highest level possible.

“We need Memphis performing at the best level to reach as far as possible during this tournament. We are full of confidence and so is he. He knows what he wants, that is the reason he is a special player.”

With Holland’s spot in the last 16 already assured, De Boer has confirmed he will make just two changes to his side for their final group game against North Macedonia.

“I think there is enough space between this game and the other one coming up, so we can play full strength in the next knockout phase otherwise you have too long a rest period between games,” he said.

“There are other things we can improve so those aspects are really important.”

North Macedonia can no longer qualify, having lost their opening two games, but Igor Angelovski wants his side to go out on a high.

“In the second half against Ukraine we were the real North Macedonia, and showed that we deserved to be at the European Championship,” he said.

“This is how we should play against the Dutch. We want to put on a real show and hopefully pick up our first points of the tournament.”