Wout Weghorst has earned the right to start up front for the Netherlands at UEFA Euro 2020. - © FRANCOIS WALSCHAERTS/AFP via Getty Images
Wout Weghorst has earned the right to start up front for the Netherlands at UEFA Euro 2020. - © FRANCOIS WALSCHAERTS/AFP via Getty Images

Why the Netherlands have made Wout Weghorst their first-choice striker at the Euros


With his refined eye for goal and talismanic team play, Wolfsburg's Wout Weghorst is the man leading the Dutch attack on UEFA Euro 2020 glory this summer.

While his goals and assists already do plenty of talking for him, bundesliga.com explains exactly why Weghorst is already giving the Dutch some delight this summer.

After leaving AZ Alkmaar for Wolfsburg in 2018, Weghorst appeared to vanish from the Dutch Bondscoach's radar. After picking up his first three caps for the Oranje during his Alkmaar days, he was called up just once by his country - playing 27 minutes of a 5-0 Euro qualifying win over Estonia in November 2019 - before returning to the international fold on the eve of Euro 2020 three years later.

Watch: Weghorst's top 5 Bundesliga goals

Prior to the Netherlands naming their tournament hopefuls, news of Weghorst's performances - and above all consistency - in the Bundesliga finally seemed to have made their way back over the border, and current coach Frank De Boer appeared convinced of the value the 28-year-old could bring to his squad.

"He's in very good shape, let that be clear," he told ESPN. "It looks good for him. Ultimately, we still have to make a decision, but the chances are he will be there [in the squad].

"It's astonishing, what he's doing this season, and also already last season."

Weghorst's return of 20 goals this season is his best yet in the Bundesliga, though as De Boer rightly pointed out, he has been finding the back of the net with regularity for many seasons now.

With 53 goals in 100 Bundesliga games, the real surprise is that he doesn't have more international caps, though the message appeared to have gotten through, with Weghorst eventually named in his country's final squad for the tournament.

"He's got a great character, he's big, physically strong and is good with his feet too," said former Dutch international Erik Meijer, who scored 39 Bundesliga goals in 174 outings for Bayer Leverkusen and Hamburg, to Sportbuzzer. "He's also good with his back to goal, but more important than all of that: Wout's got a fine eye for goal.

"That's why I knew Wout was going to work out at Wolfsburg, and gradually they're starting to realise back in the Netherlands that Wout's not the Wout who played for Heracles and AZ, but that he's even better now.

Watch: Weghorst's emotional reaction to Netherlands call-up

"From what I see, he's becoming more and more a top package. He scored 17 in his first Bundesliga season, then 16 in the following year and now he's got 20. It's no surprise, then, that our Bondscoach is taking a better look at him. I feel that Wout's taken another leap forward this year.

"Of course he was always scoring goals in his first two years at Wolfsburg, but this year he's a player who sets goals up for his teammates too. He's an extremely important player in this Wolfsburg team, not just as a target man, but also as a player who can drop deep to launch attacks."

Indeed, in addition to the 20 goals he scored, Weghorst set up a further seven this term, thus playing a direct role in almost half of Wolfsburg's 57 goals. Only Robert Lewandowski, Andre Silva, Erling Haaland and Thomas Müller have had a hand in more goals this season, highlighting how important he has become for his club, with UEFA Champions League football beckoning, and how crucial he can be for his country too.

Weghorst proved as much by finding the back of the net in only his second match back for the Netherlands, scoring his first international goal in just his sixth cap. That friendly win over Georgia saw Weghorst line-up alongside Memphis Depay in attack, a formula De Boer is now firmly settled on.

The payoff continued in their Group C opener. It took Weghorst less than an hour to score in his first major international tournament, putting the Dutch 2-0 ahead in the eventually dramatic 3-2 victory over Ukraine.

That game - like Netherlands' second match against Austria - was played out in front of home fans in Amsterdam, and Weghorst clearly revelled in representing his country at the Johan Cruijff ArenA as he scored in Oranje for the second match in succession.

“It was a great thing," he said after the win. "I'm glad there were 16,000 people in the stadium today. I've seen a lot of orange. I'm happy that we could celebrate the three points together with the fans. That was great."