Royston Drenthe says the Netherlands "will not settle for less" than retaining their Under-21 title after starring in their opening victory against Israel.
'A great honour'
The dreadlocked winger set up Hedwiges Maduro for the only goal of Sunday's game at the Abe Lenstra Stadium and remained a constant threat throughout, with his performance earning the Carlsberg Man of the Match award. He told uefa.com: "This is a great honour for me. It is a good step in the tournament that we have won the first match and it is an honour that I have won this award."
However, it is winners' medals rather than personal accolades that are keeping Drenthe motivated as the Jong Oranje target a second successive UEFA European U21 Championship triumph. He said: "That is certainly what we are here for - we will not settle for less. It has been hammered into us, with everyone saying we have to win in our own country. We are also reigning champions so we owe it to the nation to perform well."
The Feyenoord man certainly did his country proud against Israel, enjoying his role on the left flank after being pushed forward after half-time. "I prefer to play in a more advanced role so I can show my attacking skills," the 20-year-old said. "The coach said I could play in that role in the second half." Coach Foppe de Haan told uefa.com: "When he is playing on the left of midfield, he is free and can show all his energy - when he is at left-back he is not really comfortable." With the Netherlands facing Portugal in their next game on Wednesday, Drenthe can now prepare to play in front of a passionate sell-out crowd. "When you see all that orange you realise everyone has come to support you, so it really gives you goosebumps," he said. "It is too beautiful for words to express how it is to experience that. It makes me very proud."
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