New Liverpool signing Ryan Gravenberch has been blasted by his international managers for rejecting a call-up to the Dutch Under-21 side.
The transfer came too late for him to feature in Liverpool’s 3-0 win over Aston Villa on Sunday but much is expected of the former Ajax midfielder.
And he should be well rested ahead of his eventual debut after the 21-year-old turned down the chance to play for the Netherlands U21s during the international break, in order to stay in Liverpool and better acclimatise himself to the area and his new club.
This decision has however engulfed the wrath of U21s boss Michael Reiziger and Oranje manager Ronald Koeman, and may well have harmed his chances of playing for his country in the forseeable future.
Reports suggest Koeman could leave Gravenberch out of future squads, and the former Everton and Barcelona boss was quizzed about the matter in a press conference on Monday.
He simply said: ‘We’re not happy about that. Nigel de Jong [the assistant manager] has been in touch with him.’
As for Reiziger, he said: ‘No, I don’t think it’s a good decision. That’s what I told him.
‘I really don’t think it’s a good decision. I know Ryan, I think he’s a good boy, a nice guy, but he made the wrong choice.
‘You have to play with your heart for your country, not with your head. It’s an honour. That’s it, there are no concessions.
‘You really have to want to be there and that’s just really important to me. But he has made his decision and he now wants to stay in Liverpool to acclimatise.
‘Should I make a statement to the other players? Yes and no. It would have been played with a statement, but I truly believe it’s an honour to play for your country.
‘That’s not a statement, that’s a principle. If you think, “Well, Oranje Jong [U21s] is nice and non-committal…”. At the top, nothing is non-committal. I [told] that to the other guys.’
The senior Dutch side, who are captained by Reds skipper Virgil van Dijk, face Greece and the Republic of Ireland in Euro 2024 qualifiers during the September break.
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