The Champions League gets underway this week and there are several young Dutchman looking to shine in the competition. Michael Bell picks eight you need to keep an eye on in the competition.

Mitchel Bakker

Club: PSG Age: 20 Position: Left-back

An injury to Juan Bernat and the suspension of Layvin Kurzawa have given Bakker the opportunity to stake his claim to be the starting left-back of PSG.

The former Ajax youngster has grabbed it with both hands and has looked impressive for the French champions. He has also become the starting left-back for the Netherlands U21 side.

A tall, strong, and dynamic left-back, Bakker will now be hoping to make his mark on the Champions League with PSG eager to lift the trophy this season.

PSG have a tough group with Manchester United and RB Leipzig tough ties for the French side, while Turkish champions Istanbul Basaksehir will be no pushovers. Bakker has the platform to take his game to the next level.

Ryan Gravenberch

Club: Ajax Age: 18 Position: Midfielder

A versatile midfielder, capable of playing deeper or further forward, Gravenberch has committed his future to Ajax and is now ready to excel in the Champions League.

Gravenberch has been highly rated for years in the Ajax academy, and is the next young star to break through in Amsterdam after Frenkie de Jong, and Donny van de Beek.

The 18-year-old has been likened to Frank Rijkaard and Paul Pogba in the past but is now ready to make a name for himself in Europe’s biggest competition.

Gravenberch will be vital for Ajax, who have to face English Champions Liverpool and Italian side Atalanta in their group.

Justin Kluivert

Club: RB Leipzig Age: 21 Position: Winger

After struggling at AS Roma, Justin Kluivert is looking to get his career back on track in Germany with RB Leipzig.

The winger hasn’t lived up to expectations since swapping Ajax for Italy, but RB Leipzig offers him a fresh start and under Julian Nagelsmann, Kluivert could excel.

Kluivert is still only 21 and has the attributes to be a great forward if he can get regular playing time. Nagelsmann has already compared the Dutch international to Serge Gnabry and clearly has confidence in the youngster.

Kluivert will need to play well to break into RB Leipzig’s side and will still have the ambition to be in the Netherlands Euro squad.

Joshua Zirkzee

Club: Bayern Munich Age: 19 Position: Striker

Zirkzee may no longer be the first choice back-up to Robert Lewandowski but the Dutchman could still get a chance as Bayern look to defend their Champions League crown.

It was planned that the talented striker would be loaned out on deadline day, but despite links to Feyenoord, Zirkzee remains in Munich.

Strong, powerful and a good finisher, the youngster has made 15 appearances for the first-team so far, scoring four goals. He will be waiting for his chance to impress.

Noa Lang

Club: Club Brugge Age: 21 Position: Winger

After getting fed up of waiting for his chance at Ajax, Noa Lang is now in Belgium with Club Brugge and ready to fulfil his potential.

The tricky winger was highly rated in Amsterdam, and impressed on loan with FC Twente last season. However, Erik ten Hag could not offer the Netherlands U21 international playing time.

The unpredictable forward made an impression on his debut at the weekend and will now look to start when Club Brugge enter the Champions League against Zenit st Petersburg.

Regular playing time could lead to Lang following in Arnaut Danjuma and Ruud Vormer’s footsteps, and using Club Brugge as a springboard to the Dutch national team.

Perr Schuurs

Club: Ajax Age: 20 Position: Centre-back

Schuurs has developed rapidly over the past year and is now a first choice centre-back for Ajax and on the cusp of the Dutch national team.

Since breaking through at the age of 17 at Fortuna Sittard, Schuurs has had the reputation of being one of the Netherlands most talented young centre-backs. He is now living up to expectations at Ajax and is first-choice alongside Daley Blind at the back.

A ball playing centre-back, Schuurs is looking to follow in the footsteps of Matthijs de Ligt and the Champions League could be the competition for the youngster to excel.

Matthijs de Ligt

Club: Juventus Age: 21 Position: Centre-back

Not exactly a young talent to watch, Matthijs de Ligt has been excelling in the Champions League for years, but he is still only 21.

Juventus are one of the club’s looking to lift the trophy next year and De Ligt will be crucial to any success. He is currently recovering from a shoulder injury but once he returns, De Ligt will slot right back into the Old Lady’s defence.

After a difficult start in Italy, De Ligt was sensational last season and is one of the best centre-backs in world football. De Ligt will have a big season ahead before he looks plays a major role at next summer’s European Championships with the Netherlands.

Sam Lammers

Club: Atalanta Bergamo Age: 23 Position: Striker

He is now 23, but I wanted to include Sam Lammers on this list as the striker is a late bloomer and now getting the chance to showcase his talent in Italy after swapping PSV for Atalanta.

Lammers has made only bench appearances so far, but has scored two goals to increase his reputation at the club.

Atalanta went on an excellent Champions League run last season and Lammers will be hoping to help them to the knockout stages again. They will need to get through a difficult group that contains Ajax and Liverpool to do so, but the Italian side are a joy to watch because of their attacking style.

Lammers is a technically excellent centre-forward and could become the number nine of Oranje if he excels in Bergamo. He is off to a good start but the Champions League could be a platform to raise his profile even further.




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