Aberdeen legend Theo Snelders has warned Scotland must be on red alert to the danger of Netherlands’ prolific strike-force.
Scotland face Netherlands in a friendly at the Estadio Algarve, Portugal on Wednesday as part of the build up to the Euro 2020 finals.
Steve Clarke’s Scots will then face Luxembourg on Sunday in a final friendly before kick-staring their Euro 2020 campaign with a Group D clash against Czech Republic at Hampden on Monday June 14.
With the Scots set to compete in the finals of a major tournament for the first time since the 1998 World Cup it is vital Clarke’s side build positive momentum in the friendlies.
However former Netherlands international Snelders warned goal machines Wout Weghorst and Memphis Depay could deliver a pre-tournament blow to the Scots.
Scotland’s defence, set to include new Dons signing Declan Gallagher, will face a strike-force boasting two attackers that have hit 49 goals in the recently ended season.
Weghorst netted 25 times for Wolfsburg to fire the German Bundesliga side into the Champions League with Depay scoring 24 for French La Liga side Lyon.
Snelders said: “Memphis Depay will be the main man Scotland will have to watch in terms of goal threat as he is a top, top player.
“However Weghorst has done really well in the Bundesliga and has scored 15 to 20 goals every season for the last three years.
“Weghorst is a tall, powerful player and is progressing very well.
“He built a career in the lower leagues (Heracles), then stepped up to the Eredivisie with AZ Alkmaar.
“Many people said that was Weghorst’s level but he then moved to the Bundesliga and has been a big success there.
“Every time Weghorst steps up he does well.
“Now there is talk about him maybe moving to the English Premier League or going to Borussia Dortmund to potentially replace Erling Haaland if he moves on.”
Chelsea, West Ham and Roma have also been linked with potential summer moves for Weghorst.
Barcelona are also linked with a summer swoop for former Manchester United attacker Depay who netted the only goal when the Scots lost 1-0 to Netherlands in a friendly at Pittodrie on November 9, 2017.
A Scottish Cup and League Cup double winner with Aberdeen in 1989-90 Pittodrie great Snelders insists Holland have an embarrassment of riches up front which manager Frank de Boer could utilise against the Scots as he fine-tunes his system for the Euro 2020 finals.
The Netherlands will face Ukraine, Austria and North Macedonia in Group C.
He said: “As well as Depay and Weghorst the Netherlands also have dangerous players such as Georginio Wijnaldum (Liverpool) and Frenkie de Jong (Barcelona) who is the guy the attacks start from.
“There is also Luuk de Jong (Sevilla) who is strong in the air and Steven Berghuis (Feyernoord) who is really coming onto the international scene now.
“Berghuis is a left footer playing on the right and likes to cut in to have a shot.
“He also has a great cross and is a player who has an end product to his play.”
The Royal Dutch Football Association (KNVB) appointed de Boer as Netherlands manager in September last year as replacement for Ronald Koeman who left the post to take over as boss at Barcelona.
De Boer, who made 112 Netherlands appearances and played at two World Cups for his country, signed a two-year deal until the 2022 World Cup in Qatar.
The 51-year-old had been manager of Atlanta United, Aberdeen’s strategic partners, until he was axed last summer.
Aberdeen manager Stephen Glass, then Atlanta United 2 boss, was then placed in interim charge of Atlanta for six months until Gabriel Heinze was appointed in January.
Snelders reckons de Boer could utilise two different formations against Scotland as he looks to isolate the best system for the Euros.
He said: “De Boer has just recently come in and didn’t have that many games.
“It is more like Ronald Koeman who made the big change.
“We missed a few tournaments, then Koeman came in and Netherlands won the A group in the Nations League.
“They then faced Portugal in the final (1-0 loss) so the main transition was under Koeman.
“Due to coronavirus de Boer has only had a handful of games.
“Scotland is one of two games for the Netherlands before Euro 2020 as they also play Georgia.
“Although de Boer will want good results it is more about fine tuning for the tournament.
“He wants to practice playing with three central defenders and also playing with two central defenders..
“So it will be 4-3-3 in one game and 3-5-2 in the other, or he may switch it for either half.”
Netherlands will be competing in their first finals since the 2014 World Cup, where they reached the semi-finals, having failed to qualify for Euro 2016 and the 2018 World Cup.
World Cup runners-up for a third time in 2010 and European champions in 1988 Snelders insists the loss of captain Virgil van Dijk is a hammer blow to Euro 2020 hopes.
The Liverpool defender has been sidelined with an anterior cruciate knee ligament injury since last October and confirmed he would not compete at the Euros.
Snelders said: “I see us more as being a dark horse.
“If van Dijk had been fit the Netherlands would have had a really good chance.
“However now if they reach the semi finals that would be doing really well.”
Manchester United midfielder Donny van de Beek had been a regular starter for the Netherlands at the start of the season and netted against Italy in a 1-1 Nations League draw in October.
The 24-year-old also scored in a 1-1 friendly draw with Spain the following month.
However Van de Beek has only started 15 games for the Old Trafford club since his £35m move from Ajax last summer.
Subsequently he lost his starting slot in the World Cup qualifiers against Latvia and Gibraltar in March, coming off the bench in both matches.
Snelders is not surprised Scotland midfielder Scott McTominay is keeping the former Ajax star out of the Manchester United side.
He said: “Van de Beek is a really good player but sometimes it is not the right fit for a player.
“If you look at what Manchester United have in midfield with Paul Pogba, Scott McTominay and Bruno Fernandes you can’t really complain if you have those type of players in front of you.”
Uefa recently expanded the number of players in a squad at Euro 2020 from 23 to 26 to mitigate the risks of teams facing a shortage of available players due to possible positive Covid-19 results and subsequent quarantine measures.
After a season behind closed doors Snelders is delighted there will be fans at Euro 2020, albeit still in diminished numbers.
He reckons playing in a major tournament so quickly after a congested season could result in player fatigue – which could open the way for a star who is fresh to emerge.
Snelders pinpoints Netherlands legend Marco van Basten at the 1988 finals, where he scored a sublime volleyed goal from near the right byline against the Soviet Union.
Van Basten was the tournament’s top scorer with five goals.
Snelders said: “It is concerning to think about these players who started in July and have had all these games crammed in.
“Normally if you are fresh then you have a better chance.
“If you look back at Holland at the Euros in 1998 Van Basten had been out for a long spell during the season.
“He came in fit just before the tournament and was the star player.”
Part of the Netherlands squad at the 1994 World Cup Snelders will be backing his home nation on Wednesday.
However he will be supporting Steve Clarke’s squad when the Euro 2020 finals begin and regrets he could not travel across to Scotland to enjoy the occasion with the Tartan Army.
He said: “The idea of Euro 2020 was great, to have multiple nations host the tournament so that everyone is involved.
“Luckily there are now clubs allowed but it would have been so much better to have full stadiums such as 50,000 in Hampden Park.
“I will be cheering Scotland on in the tournament.
“It is a pity due to the coronavirus as I would have gone over to Scotland if I had tickets or even watch it with friends.
“I will certainly be following Scotland.”