Just before the transfer deadline came to an end, Dutch midfielder Ryan Gravenberch moved from Bayern Munich to Liverpool. The tall midfielder, whom we have followed since his days at Ajax, watched the game against Aston Villa at Anfield and vowed to succeed at his new club.
Just then, he entered the international match week. The player was also called up to the Dutch U-21 national team. However, although he has had a good preseason and is in good condition, he has decided not to join the Dutch team, prioritizing getting acclimated to his new team.
The Dutch coaches have complained bitterly about this decision, with U-21 national team manager Michael Reiziger insisting that the decision was not a favorable one and that the player made the wrong choice. He argues that he should fight for his country with all his heart.
“I don’t think it’s a good decision, I told him that, I really don’t think it’s good.”
“For a national team, for your country, you have to play with your heart. Not with your head. So you really have to want to be there. That is just important to me. He has made his decision to stay in Liverpool to acclimatise. I know Ryan – he is a good and likeable boy – but he made the wrong choice here.
“If you can play for a national team, that is an honour. That should make you proud. There are no concessions involved. That goes for everyone, not just Ryan. A player who joins the Dutch Juniors must come with his heart and must fight for his country. The players who play with their heart always get something more out of it. As a trainer you also benefit from this.
Ronald Koeman, the director of the full national team, also expressed his dissatisfaction, stating that he has left it to his assistant manager to handle the situation.
“We’re not happy about that. [Netherlands assistant] Nigel de Jong has been in touch with him.”
Without club success, the Dutch national team itself cannot improve. The statement that one must play for one’s country, like an army, no questions asked, is far from the tone of the modern era, and it is surprising that the Dutch national team would make such a claim.
Ronald Koeman has also failed to produce results and could be dismissed at any time. After all, he cannot help but call up players who are playing well for their clubs, and most people will respect Ryan Gravenberch’s decision.