Why Ryan Gravenberch has not been called up by the Netherlands

As many as 16 Liverpool first-team players have joined up with their national teams this October, but Ryan Gravenberch is not one.

The 21-year-old midfielder, who joined Liverpool in a £34m transfer from Bayern Munich on Deadline Day, has impressed when given the opportunity at his new club.

Though he is yet to make the starting lineup in a Premier League game, Gravenberch has a goal contribution in each of his three starts so far, registering assists against LASK and Leicester, as well as a goal in the win over Union Saint-Gilloise.

He is a player Liverpool had admired long before his Bayern Munich move and Jurgen Klopp spoke highly of the new signing after the latest Europa League win, saying, "Technically, he is incredibly good.

"His first touch is insane; speed is top class; really good shooter ... He is a really good player."

It's all the more surprising then that Gravenberch has not been selected for either the Netherlands senior or Under-21s squad this October.

Why hasn't Gravenberch been called-up to the Netherlands?

Ronald Koeman's side, captained by Liverpool skipper Virgil van Dijk of course, will take on France in Amsterdam on Friday, 13 October before travelling to face Greece three days later as they continue their Euro 2024 qualification campaign.

Gravenberch does have 11 senior caps, making his debut back in 2021, but did not make the 2022 World Cup squad for Qatar.

He has also been a regular at youth level and has 11 appearances with the Under-21s. However, it was his decision to turn down a call up to Michael Reiziger's junior squad last month that appears to have led to him being left out in the cold.

Shortly after completing his move to Liverpool from Bayern at the start of September, the young midfielder opted out of international duty with the Netherlands Under-21 squad in order to 'focus on his club'.

Instead of taking part in the fairly routine wins for his country over North Macedonia Under-21s and Moldova Under-21s, Gravenberch chose spend the two-week period acclimatising to his new surroundings and training at the AXA Training Centre.

LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - Thursday, October 5, 2023: Liverpool's Ryan Gravenberch (L) celebrates with team-mate Harvey Elliott after scoring the opening goal during the UEFA Europa League Group E matchday 2 game between Liverpool FC and Union SG at Anfield. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

The decision was condemned by some in his homeland, including Reiziger and senior team boss Koeman, while it appears that it may take time before he is considered for either side once again.

Asked about the situation, Koeman admitted Gravenberch is a 'great talent' who remains an 'option' for a call-up in the future.

The former Everton manager is quoted as saying, via NU.nl: "We have a certain opinion about players who opt out of the Dutch Juniors or Oranje. Moreover, Gravenberch has not played much at Livepool yet.

"I hope he will develop further at Liverpool. He is a great talent. If he plays a lot at his club, he is always an option for the Dutch team."

Meanwhile, Reiziger's admitted there has been contact with the Liverpool player, though his omission now shows he is being sent a message by the Dutch FA over the perceived slight.

READ MORE: Every Liverpool first-team player on international duty this October

The Under-21 boss said: "It would be strange if it were now over with him [Gravenberch] at the Dutch Juniors. He is a boy with a lot of potential and he is still young. I think that a person always deserves an extra chance. Not everyone makes the best decisions or one where you the consequences of this.

"Nigel [de Jong, director of football at the KNVB] has had contact with him, but I have not. It was not an option to call him up now. The signal has now been sent to him, but you are still busy with a group. It is something you have to want to belong to.

"I don't know if this is a one-off. But we are not going to write off young players anyway."

The exclusion of Gravenberch benefits Liverpool in the short-term at least, with the midfielder free to remain in Liverpool and continue to train ahead of the Merseyside derby on 21 October.

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