He is back in Paris.
Finally, in Saint-Denis.
This Friday evening (8:45 p.m.), with the "Oranje", Xavi Simons faces the Blues at the Stade de France for the start of the Euro 2024 qualifiers. With the opportunity - and no doubt the desire - to remember the good memory of France and in particular Paris Saint-Germain which he left last summer, for lack of playing time, to join PSV Eindhoven (the Red and Blue would have a buyout clause).
Whether he is a starter or comes into play during the match, Didier Deschamps and his men will have to watch him closely.
Not (only) because of the singular nature of the encounter for him.
But (also) because since leaving the French capital, the 19-year-old attacking midfielder has taken on another dimension.
Euro 2024: the qualifying calendar
Euro 2024: dates, place, draw
An explosion at PSV Eindhoven
In Paris, he was a player full of promise.
In Eindhoven, these promises became real.
At the Boeren, the Dutchman did not need time to adapt.
Six goals (three braces) and three assists in his first five Eredivisie appearances.
Which allowed him to immediately establish himself as one of the main offensive weapons of his team.
Amazing for such a young player: “
What is clear is that Xavi is a key player for us, also in building this PSV.
It's wonderful that he is already so important at such a young age.
Myself, I was not yet at this level at this age
, explained his trainer Ruud van Nistelrooy at the beginning of February.
We see him as a key player in building this PSV.
It is partly for this reason that we are also discussing with him and his management the possibility of extending it.
I'm sure a contract extension will come out of it.
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His fine performances in the Red and White jersey opened the doors to the Dutch selection ... and the 2022 World Cup in Qatar.
It's a dream come true.
Thanks to my family and friends.
And in particular to my mother, my brother and my sister who have always supported me with unconditional love
, ”he said after the announcement of his invitation to the World Cup.
In Qatar, Xavi Simons discovered the biggest competition on the planet.
But in discretion since he only made one (small) appearance, during the round of 16 against the United States won by the Netherlands 3-1 (7 minutes of play in regulation time).
“If I were Ronald Koeman, I would build a team around him.
Rafael van der Vaaert on Xavi Simons
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But now, the co-top scorer in the Eredivisie (thirteen goals) can legitimately aspire to better at the "Oranje".
With the arrival (finally, the return) of Ronald Koeman at the helm, the offensive hierarchy could change.
Because the ex-defender has made a long-term commitment, precisely until the 2026 World Cup. He is therefore preparing for the future.
And the future goes through Xavi Simons.
In any case, that's what certain references in Dutch football believe, such as Rafael van der Vaart: “
When I look at his potential, he can become the best in the world, absolutely.
Believe me, in a few years we will all be saying: 'It's good to be able to use this boy for the national team'
", declared at the beginning of March
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A month earlier, the 2010 World Cup finalist had already praised the 19-year-old attacking midfielder: "
If I were Ronald Koeman, I would build a team around him
," he told
Will the Dutch coach take this direction?
Only time will tell.
But with the absence of Cody Gakpo - affected by a virus like other of his teammates -, Xavi Simons could well know his second selection with the "Oranje" this Friday evening against the Blues.
And there is no doubt that he will know how to seize his chance.