Winter: Netherlands are coming

Aron Winter is confident the Netherlands, perennial Under-17 contenders, can make an impact at the U19s, saying: "We now have the team to get good results."

Netherlands coach Aron Winter
Netherlands coach Aron Winter ©Getty Images

UEFA.com: You came through the renowned Dutch youth system and now you're leading the U19s to the final tournament. What does this occasion mean for you?

Aron Winter: A great deal. In the Netherlands we adore youth football and we want to see our youngsters progress – that is only feasible by giving them the opportunity to play against great opponents from other countries, against different systems and playing styles. The European Championship is the greatest youth tournament and a great development opportunity for our players.

UEFA.com: The Netherlands won the UEFA European Under-17 Championship in 2011 and 2012 but have not translated that to U19 level. Can you turn the situation around?

Winter: At U17 level we are successful. This is a different age group, but we will try to perform well and go as far as possible. Our group is challenging. Spain, Germany and Russia, like us, want to play free-flowing football. That can be an advantage for us, because we can play in our own style in these matches. In recent years we haven't always found it easy to qualify for this tournament, but now we have the team to get good results.

Watch Netherlands in 2014 Under-17 final
Watch Netherlands in 2014 Under-17 final

UEFA.com: How do you view the teams you will face in Greece?

Winter: Participating in the final tournament means you have already gone through two qualification stages. In the finals, every team can win the trophy – they're that good. OK, our group consists of tough opponents, but I always say that the ball is round. We don't underestimate anybody and we will try our best to get good results. In our group anybody can win or lose on any given day.

UEFA.com: What do you expect from your opponents?

Winter: They've all shown already that they have good teams who can score a lot of goals, but I certainly see chances for us. We want to get as far as possible, with the ultimate goal being to win the title. To achieve that, we have to first be in the top two in our group. I have absolute faith in us being able to do that.

UEFA.com: How do you assess your squad?

Winter: This is a very good group of players blessed with lots of talent. We won our qualifying and elite round groups, so I have to compliment my players for that, they did very well. Because we had so many good players, we even had to leave some at them home.

UEFA.com: How important is this tournament for the players?

Winter: Playing at this level in the national team can be difficult for some players. They have to deal with other things. For instance, usually these players play every match at their clubs, but in a national team there is more competition, so sometimes you don't play. So that might be hard to deal with and leads to disappointment. That is also part of their development.

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