Gravenberch’s Stance on the Netherlands Fallout
Liverpool midfielder Ryan Gravenberch finds himself at the centre of a heated debate following his refusal to join the Netherlands under-21 squad during September’s international break. The decision was rooted in the 21-year-old’s desire to better adapt to life at Liverpool after a summer switch from Bayern Munich. Mike Vermijl, a well-regarded voice in Dutch football, emphasises that an apology to Netherlands boss Ronald Koeman shouldn’t be on the cards.
A Seamless Transition to Anfield
Since moving to Liverpool, Gravenberch’s impact has been profound. He’s showcased his skill in 11 appearances, registering two goals and two assists. Fans at Anfield and football analysts alike have been effusive in their praise for the youngster. His decision to depart Bayern arose from challenges in cementing a spot in the starting lineup, despite his clear potential. Many attributed this struggle to the German club’s playing style, which didn’t quite suit the Dutch prodigy’s flair. But at Liverpool, under Jurgen Klopp, Gravenberch has flourished.
🔴🇳🇱 Jurgen Klopp: "Ryan Gravenberch, excellent guy and top signing. Really good player. I'm so happy for him".
"His first touch is incredible. So good in tight spaces. He still has space for improvement. He's very young and so much more to come". pic.twitter.com/hUMbxwdcc6
— Fabrizio Romano (@FabrizioRomano) October 27, 2023
Klopp’s Midfield Maestro
Gravenberch’s deployment by Klopp in a No. 8 role within a three-man midfield has been a revelation. His combination of raw athleticism and superb engine enables him to dominate in both offensive and defensive scenarios. Whether in duels or just covering ground, Gravenberch’s presence is palpable. His technique, decision-making, and counter-pressing abilities underscore his maturity, belying his age.
Koeman’s Continued Grudge
It’s evident that Koeman harbours resentment towards Gravenberch for declining the Under-21 invitation earlier this year. However, the reasons for Gravenberch’s decision are transparent and justified. The young midfielder has always been eager to represent his nation, but the current disagreement suggests Koeman’s personal feelings might be overshadowing the broader needs of the national squad.
While Gravenberch’s decision might have ruffled some feathers in the Netherlands camp, his commitment to both club and country remains undeniable. As Vermijl voiced on the Kick-Off Podcast, players should have the autonomy to prioritise settling at a new club. With Gravenberch’s current form, it’s a matter of when, not if, he’ll don the Dutch jersey again.