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Netherlands midfielder Daley Blind is out of the UEFA European Under-17 Championship with an ankle injury but is ready to urge his team on to victory.
Six weeks out
Blind was suspended for the opening 2-2 draw with Belgium but on Friday against Iceland returned to score twice against Iceland only to be forced off near the end of the 3-0 win. "We go to the hospital tomorrow after breakfast and there is just a sprain of the ankle I think," Blind told uefa.com. "I hope it will heal soon. I expect I will be out for six weeks."
Understandably, Blind is not thrilled to be sidelined as the Netherlands face a crucial Monday encounter with England still needing a point to reach the semi-finals. "It will be very frustrating," said Blind, who recently signed professional terms with AFC Ajax. "But I am happy for the team, and I am feeling part of the team too. Of course it is frustrating but I scored two goals in one game, that is a good thing for myself."
Although avoiding defeat would be enough for the Dutch against England, Blind - remaining with the squad in their Nivelles base - says they will adopt their usual attacking tactics in Tubize. "I think we must play our own game, that is the best thing we can do," he said. "In qualifying we only needed a draw against Turkey but we won 1-0. If we play defensively the other team will have more chances to score."
Father and son
Blind's father Danny was, of course, an Ajax and Netherlands player himself, but that has not always made life easy for Daley. "Sometimes there is a bit of pressure, people watch you because you are the son of Danny Blind, only look at you in the game," he said. "If you play well they say: 'Yes, you played well,' but if you make one mistake they say: 'He is the son of Blind, he is only there because of his dad.' But I play my own game and do my best for the team."
World Cup draw
However, perhaps because being in a football family has taught him that injuries are part of the game, the younger Blind is philosophical about his situation, even looking ahead to a possible FIFA U-17 World Cup campaign in Korea Republic after the summer if the Netherland end in the top five here. "[My father] said only that it can happen if you play football," Blind said. "The vacation is coming in a month, the league is over. It is bad for myself but I hope we reach the World Cup and I can play there and work towards that."
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