Flying fullback Denzel Dumfries had not played in a five-man defence previously but after two stellar performances for the Netherlands he is revelling in the new freedom it has afforded him.
Dumfries has exploded into one of the stars of the first week of Euro 2020 , scoring the winning goal against Ukraine in their opening game then netting again when they beat Austria 2-0 to claim top place in Group C.
“I’m glad I was able to contribute,” he told a news conference on Saturday. “I have just been playing my own game. In a different system than what I am used to, but a system that offers me an advantage. I get all the space I need to push forward and it has made me feel good.”
Dutch coach Frank de Boer has used a 5-3-2 system in the first group games, causing a stir in a country whose traditional 4-3-3 approach is almost sacrosanct.
But the license it has given the 25-year-old to maraud forward from right back has helped vindicate De Boer’s decision.
Dumfries, however, thinks he can do better with the Netherlands up against North Macedonia in Amstredam next on Monday. “Being in a better position when I am in possession, for example, so that I can give myself more time. I also want to make more passes. There is still a lot of room for improvement.”
Before the tournament, he had indicated he was open to a new adventure after seven seasons in the Dutch top flight, the last three with PSV Eindhoven.
Speculation has increased over a possible move to a club in England, Germany or Italy, according to media reports, but questions about his next destination were politely rebuffed.
“I’m not concerned with that at all at the moment. If you don’t mind, I’m fully focused on this tournament,” he told reporters.