Sky: Reijnders ready for leading role at Euro 2024 – former coach gives insight on rise

By Oliver Fisher -

Injuries are never good news for a national team, but Tijjani Reijnders might just be heading into the 2024 European Championship as the leader of Netherlands’ midfield.

As Sky UK write, it has not been the build-up to the tournament that Ronald Koeman hoped for given he lost both Frenkie de Jong and Teun Koopmeiners in quick succession due to injury, but there is confidence that Reijnders can step up.

Having arrived from AZ Alkmaar last summer, Reijnders quickly established himself as a starter in the Milan midfield, one which needed to be rebuilt after the departure of Sandro Tonali to Newcastle. What quickly followed was a fixed spot in the national team, too.

Sky spoke to his former coach Pascal Jansen to get some insight on the rise of the 25-year-old to this point and why he has what it takes to be a driving force for his country in Germany over the next few weeks.

Speaking about working with him in 2022, Jansen said: “I can remember it like it was yesterday. He smashed everyone in midfield. He came up to me and said, ‘Coach, I have played 50 per cent of the minutes but I need more.’

“I told him that the impact that he had made at the end of that season had to be the standard for next season. He said, ‘No problem, that is what I will do.’ He took off and never looked back. He just went on and on.

“I have seen him grow. He has improved himself so, so much. He made the next step and just continued. That surprised a lot of people but not me because I could see that he was on his way, especially in our European games. He made the difference.

“Once he went in, he improved himself daily. Just by playing, feeling the confidence from his coach and from the team, he matured. He had all the tools but it was when he got the opportunity to show them that he delivered. He made more impact.

“He was very important in the build-up phase. He could feel when he needed to come deep to support Jordy Clasie. But he was also able to carry the ball, provide assists and take shots from distance and score goals. He just became very productive.”

The report mentions how Reijnders ranks among the top 10 players in Serie A for chances created from open play, passes completed in the final third of the pitch and through-balls, showing that he is an all-action midfielder for Milan.

“The fun thing about Tijjani is that he is always smiling. You can see, literally, in his body language when he is enjoying himself. I was curious how his adaptation phase would go in Milan but I could see from his body language that he was doing well,” Jansen added.

“When he made the transfer to Milan, I could see the same Tijjani in a different environment, improving himself again. His family have supported him all the time and encouraged him to play to his potential. They pushed him in a good sense.”

Sky state that Barcelona held talks over signing him but in the end it was the project put forward by the Rossoneri that encouraged him to join, something that Jansen echoed while harking back to the Dutch elite that have donned the red and black.

“There were other clubs interested in him. Very big clubs. He was very keen to get that move. Playing for the Rossoneri has a special meaning. He wanted to play for Milan with the big history of Dutch players.

“The way that he has been able to continue to progress has been unbelievable. He has put himself on the map with some really good performances for the national team. Ready to shine? I have no doubt in my mind. None whatsoever.”

Tags AC Milan Tijjani Reijnders


  1. Reijnders is a beast. Easily my favorite signing since Kaka. I can’t wait to see this kid develop into a machine.

  2. “The fun thing about Tijjani is that he is always smiling. You can see, literally, in his body language when he is enjoying himself.”

    So true, love that part of the guy. Now he has to improve on the field and entrench himself as a key player. And we still need a midfielder alongside him and Bennacer.

    1. Maybe if we stop asking him to play a defensive role he can improve offensively. That’s where I would start. Pay him at the 10 and put two good DM’s behind him.

      1. Reijnders and kroos of Madrid are similar players the way they play is same they are both CM their job is to support the attack to carry the ball forward and to be creative in the midfield without proper DM next to them they can be exposed easily it happened kroos at buyer Munich

  3. He seems like a nice lad with head on shoulders. I didn’t have expectations from him as it was his first season in Italy. Now I hope he can build on that and I hope Fonseca can guide him to his potential. I believe he can show a lot more if played in his natural position in 433 while having a proper DM next to him.

  4. He’s gifted with a ‘commodity’ that’s becoming the more and more uncommon each passing season on the field of play: intelligence, that’s to say, tactical awareness, the capacity of reading / interpreting smartly the game. This is really something key.

  5. I missed the memo for sure on this one. Dudes a bit above average and that’s it. Tactical awareness? Why is he so poor defensively? Passes very well. That’s it. Easy to press out of the game.

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