Why Wout Weghorst is the Dutch clutch

Friday 21 June 2024 14:54

It is always satisfying to see former Manchester United players doing well on the big stage and that is certainly the case for Wout Weghorst.

The giant Netherlands striker was thoroughly pleasant and engaging to work with at Old Trafford, during his loan move from Burnley last season.

Giving his all on every occasion, the likeable centre-forward may have only scored twice for the Reds but his endeavours were clearly appreciated by the United faithful, as he relished every minute wearing the shirt.

Of course, he already had previous when it came to major tournaments, before he arrived in Manchester.

Watch Wout Weghorst scoring against Real Betis at Old Trafford.

Weghorst proved his worth at the 2022 World Cup, when he came off the bench to score both goals in a 2-2 draw with eventual champions Argentina, and he has remained a valuable option for his country.

In Euro 2024 qualifying, he hit three goals, including winners in both games against Republic of Ireland, and he was at it again in the Netherlands' finals opener in Germany.

Netting the winner with his first touch as Ronald Koeman's men beat Poland 2-1, the substitute came up clutch again and his roar of celebration evoked memories of his response to his Old Trafford effort against Real Betis in the Europa League.

Opta stats show the 31-year-old has now moved ahead of his fellow former United attackers Ruud van Nistelrooy and Memphis, in terms of goals for the national team as a substitute (7). Only Pierre van Hooijdonk (10) and Klaas-Jan Huntelaar (8) have scored more.

However, in terms of major tournament strikes when coming off the bench, Weghorst has a higher tally (4) than anyone else in the country's history.

Also, remarkably, he averages just 108 minutes per goal for Holland, which ranks him above legendary United marksmen van Nistelrooy (130 minutes) and Robin van Persie (147).

Watch Wout Weghorst scoring at Nottingham Forest, en route to United lifting the Carabao Cup.

What hits home about Weghorst is his tremendous attitude and work rate, traits that can be vital in tournament football and helpful for squad harmony. All of which does not mean he is not happy to be left out of the starting XI. Far from it, according to Koeman.

"Wout is upset and doing a lot to get the opportunity to start," said the Dutch boss. "That is a great mentality from the player and always the last decision by the coach.

"Wout is aggressive, he always takes initiative and is a good header as well. He has one chance and finds the net."

It is to be expected and he has done his claims the power of good as the Netherlands prepare to meet current outright favourites France tonight (Friday).

Ex-Reds: France v Netherlands


Who would come out on top in our hypothetical five-a-side match?

Although there is no United representative in the current Dutch squad, with Tyrell Malacia missing the entirety of last season due to injury, there are two more former Reds involved. Daley Blind was an unused substitute against Poland at the weekend, while Memphis started in attack.

The encounter with France in Leipzig will go a long way to deciding which team wins Group D, with both sides on three points after their first matches.

Given Wout, who spent last term on loan at Hoffenheim, is being linked with some big clubs in this transfer window, including Ajax, it will be interesting to see how he gets on in the Friday 20:00 BST kick-off.