5 youngsters Ronald Koeman should promote for the Netherlands
On Tuesday, Ronald Koeman was confirmed as the man to forge a new course for the Netherlands. The 54-year-old has a colossal task at hand revamping Dutch football. He is expected to quickly initiate a rebuilding process for the future.
Clearly, the Netherlands is experiencing its worst transitional phase in years. The Dutch Golden era from 2010-14, where they finished runners-up and third in two successive World Cups, has long gone. Faithful stalwarts Arjen Robben, Robin van Persie and Wesley Sneijder are all past their prime. Meanwhile, heralded successors Memphis Depay, Daley Blind, and Marco van Ginkel among others have failed to step up.
Looking ahead, Koeman must abandon the old guard in favour of hungrier youngsters. Here are five players eager for a chance to impress.
Like countless Dutch footballers, Kenny Tete's roots are firmly in Amsterdam. He developed superbly through Ajax's ranks, peaking last season to reach the Europa League final.
Now on Lyon's payroll, Tete is further enhancing his reputation as one of Europe's best right-sided defenders. The 21-year-old has been a mainstay in Bruno Genesio's team this term. He has played 17 games, scoring and assisting five times.
There won't be many enigmas if Tete is called upon by Koeman, having previously impressed on eight occasions for the Dutch national side.
No teenager can rival Justin Kluivert's exploits in the Eredivisie this campaign. In 14 starts, the Ajax youngster has played a direct hand in eight goals (scoring five, assisting three). His meteoric rise has alerted some of Europe's big shots, such as Manchester United.
Son of the Dutch legend, Patrick, Justin is proving to need none of his dad's influences to make it big. In the mould of many great wingers from his homeland, the 18-year-old dazzles on the left. He possesses pace with a low centre of gravity, as well as outstanding agility.
Kluivert is yet to earn his debut for the Netherlands. Showing such extraordinary form, though, Koeman will come calling sooner than later.
Koeman could utilise Nathan Ake at left back. A renowned talent in England, the 22-year-old had to battle hard to make it in the Premier League. Such doggedness, resilience and never-say-die attitude will surely benefit his country. Calmness, versatility and superb work ethic jump out each time he plays.
After three prosperous loan spells, Ake made the sensible decision to join Bournemouth from Chelsea last summer. He later returned to haunt the Blues.
Similar to Tete, Ake isn't new to the national fold having already earned 5 caps.
Another top Premier League talent capable of reviving the Netherlands. On loan at Crystal Palace from Manchester United, Timothy Fosu-Mensah is currently gaining valuable first-team experience.
With the right tutelage, Fosu-Mensah could be nurtured into a world-beater. Perhaps even in Koeman's mould. The 20-year-old has shown glimpses of his quality at Selhurst Park this season. Hence, the new Netherlands boss should consider calling up the youngster.
Matthijs de Ligt
World football has few hotter defensive talents than Matthijs de Ligt. The 18-year-old looks set for a superb career. He featured regularly for Ajax in last season's second half and with Davinson Sanchez moving to Tottenham, the young centre-back is now the cornerstone of his team's defence.
Aged only 17, Ligt became his country's youngest debutant after starting in the defeat to Bulgaria last March. He's since earned two more international caps.