The Netherlands national team in recent years has witnessed an influx of skilful and talented youngsters. The country’s failure to qualify for the last edition of the FIFA World cup in Russia signalled the end of an era for some players as well as the birth of a new generation. In the light of this ZenoxSports brings you the top five rising U21 footballers in the Netherlands football team.
The country is blessed with promising youngsters aside from the established stars like Van Dijk, Jasper Cillessen and Memphis Depay. These promising youngsters at Koeman’s disposal provide optimism for the future. So ZenoxSports list five of them.
1. MATTHIJS DE LIGT
The young defender came through the ranks of Ajax youth system, having joined the academy at the age of 9. He made his debut for Jong Ajax on August 2016 against FC Emmen in a Eerste Divisie match. He is Ajax’s second youngest goalscorer after Clerence Seedorf. He’s established himself as a regular since his debut against Willem II in a cup game on 21 September 2016.
De Ligt’s technicality and raw talent has drawn comparisons to Dutch legend Jaap Stam. He is the subject of transfer gossip across Europe, with Barcelona, Juventus and Manchester United all scrambling for his signature. On the international scene, he’s developing into a force to be reckoned with in the Dutch senior national side.
De Ligt made his debut for the Netherlands national team in a 2-0 to Bulgaria in a World Cup qualifying match on March 25 2017. The match was somewhat of a nightmare for the young defender but he bounced back in the games against Portugal and England.
De Ligt is growing incredibly well with Van Dijk as his partner in central defence and Koeman at the helm of affairs. De Ligt looks better for the experience he’s gathered and looks set to be a regular in the Dutch squad for years to come.
2. FRENKIE DE JONG
Position: Central midfield
DeJong came through the ranks of Willem II before joining Ajax in the summer of 2015 on a four-year contract. He made his Eredivisie debut in a 1-0 win against Ado Den Haag on 10 May 2015 while playing for Willem II.
Like De Ligt Europe’s elite clubs are monitoring the progress of Frenkie De Jong, and he’s expected to cause a bidding war this summer. At 21, the young midfielder has established himself as a regular for both club and country. De Jong was awarded the Jupiler League’s Talent of the Season Award for 2016-17 due to his exploit with Ajax.
He made his international debut in a friendly win against Peru on 9 June 2018, having made 22 appearances across various youth teams. De jong is a good marker of the ball that he rarely get booked and he’s a very smart player when in possession.
3. DENZEL DUMFRIES
Dumfries made his debut for Sparta Rotterdam on 20 February 2015 against FC Emmen, having left amateur side Berendrecht for the club in 2014. He won the Eerste Divisie Talent of the Year award in 2016 after helping Sparta gain promotion to Eredivisie. He joined SC Heerenveen in the summer of 2017 to replace Belgium-bound Stefano Marzo. A summer later, he joined PSV Eindhoven in a Five-year deal as a replacement for Joshua Brenet and Santiago Arias.
Dumfries earned his full international call up in October 2018 and mad his debut in a match against Germany on the 13th of October. The defender is down in Koeman’s pecking order for the defence but he’s regarded as a promising defender. Currently he has numerous established names ahead of him in Holland, such as Daryl Janmaat and Timothy Fosu-Mensah.
4. JUSTIN KLUIVERT
Club: AS Roma
Kluivert is a product of AFC Ajax youth system and had his first professional contract with Ajax. He made his professional debut with Jong Ajax on 16 September 2016 against MVV. He made his Eredivisie debut with Ajax in a 1-3 away win against PEC Zwolle on 15 January 2017.
He moved to AS Roma on 12 June 2018 for £17 million following a telephone conversation between his father and Francesco Totti. Kluivert primarily features as a left winger but can also play as a striker, he has scored once in 10 games.
He earned his full international call up in March 2018 and made his senior debut in a 3-0 win over Portugal on 26 March. The 19-year-old is a regular for the Under 21 and he is the side’s captain. He has been involved in the senior setup under Koeman, winning two caps to date.
5. DONNY VAN DE BEEK
Position: Midfield Age: 21 Caps: 4 Club: Aja
Van De Break is a product of AFC Ajax youth system, having joined the club in 2008. He made his senior debut in 2015 in a Europa League match against Celtic. He scored his first hat-trick during the 2017-17 season and went on to score 11 goals that same season. He has established himself as a regular in Ajax first team. He’s currently on the shortlist of top European teams like Bayern Munich and Chelsea.
On the international scene, Van de Beek has represented the Netherlands at the youth level. He made his senior international debut in a match against Romania on November 4 2017.
He is currently behind Georgino Wijnaldum and Tony Vilhena in the battle for a place in Holland’s first team.
Nevertheless, if he continues with his growth, he could soon establish himself as a regular. His eye for a pass and comfort in dictating play has seen him linked with teams across Europe, from Roma to Chelsea.
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