Netherlands head coach Louis van Gaal has named Ajax hotshot Davy Klaassen in the 23-man squad that will face France in Paris next Wednesday.
The inclusion of Klaassen comes after a highly successful season in which the 21-year-old has emerged as one of Eredivisie’s star attractions, returning an impressive eight goals for the Amsterdam giants including a December hat-trick against NAC Breda.
A string of fine displays has garnered much praise for the young midfielder with the likes of Tottenham and Aston Villa amongst those chasing the Ajax man’s signature. His first senior call-up indicates that van Gaal is just the latest coach to admire Klaassen’s talent.
Klaassen has already been touted as a potential future mainstay of the Netherlands national side, but the call-up will still come as a pleasurable surprise for the Ajax man. Van Gaal’s decision to include the 21-year-old will also give the player hope of forcing his way onto the plane for Brazil this summer.
Talk of a potential World Cup spot is a glowing testimony to his progression at Ajax this term, especially as he’d previously only made 11 first-team appearances prior to this season. However, following this inclusion, Klaassen is at least on van Gaal’s radar—even if the youngster will most likely be named amongst the substitutes.
Following the disaster of Euro 2012, where Netherlands lost all three matches, new faces will be a welcomed addition. Klaassen, who has already represented his country at various youth levels, is joined in the squad by fellow debutants Jean-Paul Boetius of Feyenoord and FC Twente’s Quincy Promes.
The trip to France will be Klaassen’s second jaunt abroad in a week following Ajax’s match in Austria last Thursday. Whilst the Dutch champions suffered a humiliating 6-1 aggregate defeat to Salzburg, the 21-year-old did at least enjoy the individual success of scoring his side’s only goal.
If he can repeat that feat by scoring in Paris, then his chances of heading to Brazil may be dramatically increased.
Netherlands kick off their World Cup campaign on June 13 against Spain, who famously beat them in the final four years ago.
Netherlands squad to face France:
Goalkeepers: Jasper Cillessen (Ajax), Michel Vorm (Swansea), Jereon Zoet (PSV)
Defenders: Daley Blind (Ajax), Daryl Janmaat (Feyenoord), Bruno Martins Indi (Feyenoord), Karim Rekkik (PSV), Joel Veltman (Ajax), Paul Verhaegh (Ausburg), ron Vlaar (Aston Villa), Gregory van der Wiel (Paris Saint-Germain)
Midfielders: Jordy Clasie (Feyenoord), Davy Klaassen (Aajx), Stijn Schaars (PSV), Wesley Sneijder (Galatasaray), Kevin Strootman (Roma)
Forwards: Jean-Paul Boetius (Feyenoord), Memphis Depay (PSV) Klaas Jan Huntelaar (Schalke), Dirk Kuyt (Fenerbache), Robin van Persie (Manchester United), Quincy Pomes (FC Twente), Arjen Robben (Bayern Munich)