The Europa League group stage begins on Thursday with three Eredivisie sides and a number of Dutch players set to feature. Michael Bell picks his ten young Dutch stars to watch in the competition.

riedewald-ajJairo Riedewald

The 20-year-old broke into the Ajax first team last season and made a big impression as a centre-half but Peter Bosz has arrived at the club this season and moved the youngster into midfield. Riedewald already looks comfortable in his new position in front of the back four and has provided some much-needed calmness and control to the Ajax midfield, which hasn’t been seen since Daley Blind left for Manchester. Riedewald’s passing range, control and tackling ability could make him one of the most gifted DM’s in Europe over the next few years.

maher 123psvAdam Maher

After being left frustrated at the lack of opportunities with PSV, Maher decided to leave the club on loan this summer and has joined Turkish side Osmanlispor, who have qualified for the Europa League for the first time. The now 23-year-old will look to regain his confidence in Turkey and rediscover the form he showed at AZ Alkmaar, which made him one of the most exciting young attacking midfielders in Europe. On his day Maher is still an extremely gifted attacking midfielder.

diks-fiorKevin Diks

The 19-year-old established himself as one of the best young right backs in the Eredivisie last season with Vitesse Arnhem and was snapped up by Serie A side Fiorentina this summer for a bargain price of around €3 million. The youngster is yet to make his debut in the Italian league but could be given his chance to impress in the Europa League. Diks is strong at the back but also loves to dribble with the ball and often makes powerful runs down the wing to join attacks. Already an international at U21 level, Diks is seen as the future right back for the Dutch national team.

mem oranjeMemphis Depay

The winger’s first season in England with Manchester United was disappointing but he showed glimpses of his immense talent in the Europa League, scoring twice and adding an assist in three appearances. Memphis has only appeared for one minute of action in the Premier League this season so far and he needs to take his chances to impress in the Europa League, starting with the tie against Feyenoord. If Memphis can rediscover his confidence and impress Jose Mourinho then he could become a more prominent figure at Old Trafford and win back his place in the Dutch national team.

letschert ndTimo Letschert

The centre-back was a revelation for Utrecht last season, earning a call-up to the Dutch national team and a move abroad with Italian side Sassuolo forking out around €3 million to bring him to Italy. The 23-year-old is a strong and commanding presence at the back but is also accomplished with the ball at his feet and has great passing ability. He is yet to break into the Sassuolo first team but could be given the opportunity to impress in Europe.

dos santos azDabney Dos Santos

AZ Alkmaar can be great to watch going forward and one of the most exciting aspects of their front three is winger Dos Santos, who is already a key player for the club despite his tender age of 20. An excellent dribbler on the ball, Dos Santos has racked up an impressive 21 assists in 75 appearances for the club’s first team and his link up play around the box will be key for AZ who will be aiming to reach the knockout stages. The Netherlands U21 international also has a keen eye for a goal and has already netted in the competitions qualifiers this season.

vilhena feeTonny Vilhena 

He is only 21 but Vilhena has already racked up 138 appearances for the Feyenoord first team and was a key member of the team which reached the knockout stages of the Europa League two seasons ago. A commanding presence in the midfield, Vilhena is a tough tackler, great dribbler and has a keen eye for a pass. Vilhena has been key for the club, who have won all five of their games this season and goes into the Europa league full of confidence and ready to impress potential suitors.

bazoer akaRiechedly Bazoer

The gem of the Ajax midfield last season, Bazoer is regarded as one of the finest young talents in Europe, but appears to have fallen out of favour with Peter Bosz. The new Ajax coach has preferred a midfield trio of Klaassen, Gudelj and Riedewald in the league so far and the 19-year-old has a job on his hands to work his way back into the starting eleven. However, if Bosz chooses to rotate in the Europa League then Bazoer will get his chance to impress once again. Bazoer is a powerful midfielder with good passing and dribbling ability, but should score more goals for the positions he gets himself in.

mensah oranjeTimothy Fosu-Mensah

A revelation for Manchester United last season, Fosu-Mensah became a fan favourite at Old Trafford after several commanding performances in the clubs defence. However, with Jose Mourinho coming in at the club, the 18-year-old hasn’t been involved in the Premier League at all this season so far and will need to use the cup competitions to convince the coach that he is worthy of selection, like Memphis Depay. His versatility is perfect for a competition like the Europa League, with Fosu-Mensah comfortable along the backline and even in midfield which gives Mourinho plenty of options to rotate positions.

luckassen goalDerrick Luckassen

The 21-year-old has been key for AZ over the past year having been deployed in the centre of defence or midfield and at right back, excelling in each position. In defence, Luckassen is a powerful tackler and a tall commanding presence alongside Ron Vlaar, while when deployed in midfield he shows a keen eye for a pass and good dribbling skills. His height and power also makes him a potential threat from set plays, with Luckassen already scoring twice in the Europa League qualifiers this season. The youngster stated in the summer he was ready for a move to a bigger club and he could impress several potential suitors in the competition.




Michael Bell (54 Posts)