Pieters: Willems should start for Netherlands

The 23-year-old believes his teenage PSV Eindhoven club-mate deserves to be in the first-team for the Oranje's first game of Euro 2012 against Denmark
Injured Netherlands left-back Erik Pieters believes 18-year-old Jetro Willems is the player who should replace him in the Oranje first-team at Euro 2012.

Pieters was expected to be Bert van Marwijk’s first choice left-back in Poland and Ukraine but a broken metatarsal at the end of last season ruled him out of the competition.

The absence of the 23-year-old leaves a void on the left side of the Netherlands defence which midfielder Stijn Schaars and Willems are the main candidates to fill.

Willems is expected to be in the first-team to face Denmark in the Netherlands’ first game of Euro 2012, having started in warm-up matches against Bayern Munich, Bulgaria and Northern Ireland, whilst Schaars only made the first-team in the friendly against Slovakia.

“I think that Jetro has earned a chance,” Pieters told NU Sport. “But obviously the coach makes the decision.

“When you see how Jetro has developed at PSV over the last season and how he has broken into the national team, you have to respect him.

“I told him that he should just do what he always does, he must rely on his own strength.”

The Netherlands play Denmark on Saturday at 20.45 CET.