A goal against Liverpool inevitably leaves an impression. And attracts the attention of a coach. Decisive against the Reds during the feat of Toulouse FC (3-2 victory), last Thursday in the Europa League, Thijs Dallinga has just been called up for the first time by Ronald Koeman in the Dutch A selection.
The Toulouse player takes advantage of the packages of the two Ajax Amsterdam players, Steven Bergwijn and Brian Brobbey, to join the Oranje who face Iceland in a friendly on Saturday then Gibraltar on Tuesday, during the last day of the Euro 2024 qualifiers. Given the affordable schedule, the newcomer could experience his first cape and seize the opportunity to shine. In great form in the Téfécé jersey, Dallinga arrives launched.
After a timid start to the season, the Dutch striker has gotten things back on track in recent weeks. For a month and the international break in October, he has found the net each time he starts. Already a scorer at Anfield during the Toulouse defeat – the best achievement of the 4th day of the Europa League according to UEFA – he did it again in the return match on the Stadium pitch, putting the Violets on the path to historic success ahead of Liverpool.
In the meantime, the 23-year-old also scored in Ligue 1, against Reims (1-1), Le Havre (1-2) then Lille (1-1) on Sunday, to snatch a precious point. With newfound efficiency, he carries the offensive sector of Téfécé, already dependent on him last season (18 goals in 42 matches). Number 9, recruited in the summer of 2022 from Excelsior (Dutch D1) for 2.5 million euros and identified in particular thanks to data, is starting to make a name for himself on the European scene. His summons to the Oranje being the logical continuation in his linear progression.
Having passed through the U19s of the Netherlands (2 caps, 1 goal) then the Espoirs (7 caps), Dallinga did not miss the stages. Here he is now in the list of 25 players chosen by Ronald Koeman, in a selection far from his former caliber. Dominated by the France team (1-2) during the last meeting, the Batavians should still qualify for the Euro in Germany next summer. And this, despite a rather glaring generational dip, particularly in attack.
If the back base relies on Virgil Van Dijk (Liverpool), Nathan Aké (Manchester City) and Denzel Dumfries (Inter Milan), and the midfield on reference Frenkie De Jong (FC Barcelona), currently injured, the offensive sector seeks its new spearheads. Sparkling with RB Leipzig, Xavi Simons appears to be the leader in the making, it remains to find his lieutenants. Thijs Dallinga could be one of them.
While Donyell Malen (Dortmund) and Cody Gakpo (Liverpool) are struggling with their club, the experienced Wout Weghorst (Hoffenheim, 31 years old) is not eternal. In the middle of a project that is progressing slowly, the Toulouse native has the qualities to do well and win over the long term. His complete profile as a finisher, capable of going deep as well as playing as a pivot, can be combined with the virtuosity of Simons, who has already taken the keys to the game at the age of 20.
Three years his senior, Dallinga arrives at the right time, at the best of his form and his confidence. It's up to him to put his (legitimate) emotions aside to make the most of every minute we give him. Nine months before his country's participation (barring disaster) in the Euro, the darling of the Stadium has everything to gain. And with a misunderstanding, it can work.