The Netherlands U17s were defeated 2-1 by France in the European Championships on Wednesday. However, the squad impressed throughout the tournament, and the future is bright for a number of talented youngsters. Michael Bell picks out the standouts from the squad.

Jaden Slory

A pacey and direct winger, Slory was arguably Netherlands MVP in the tournament with the Feyenoord winger netting twice and adding three assists during the tournament, including a goal in the final.

When Slory got the ball on the right-wing, the Netherlands looked at their most threatening and the Feyenoord star’s pace was a major weapon.

This pre-season the 17-year-old is set to be given the chance to train with the Feyenoord first-team and he is most certainly one of the most exciting talents at the club. Slory will be looking to impress and it can’t be ruled out that he could be fast-tracked into a first-team debut next season.

If he can continue his development, the Netherlands have a future star on their hands and a winger that will frighten defenses for years to come.

Isaac Babadi

The captain of the U17s, Isaac Babadi is a hugely talented attacker, who sealed Netherlands place in the final with a very cheeky panenka in the shootout win over Serbia.

Pre-tournament, Babadi was expected to be one of the stars of the tournament and he certainly proved why with some very impressive displays. On the ball, Babadi is technically excellent and has the ability to create something out of nothing. He may be physically light but his dribbling ability and awareness makes him difficult to shake off the ball.

There are few talents in the Netherlands that have the ability and potential of Babadi, who has an exciting future as an attacking midfielder or winger. Last season, Babadi made four appearances for Jong PSV in the Keuken Kampioen Divisie and he is set to be part of the squad full time from next season.

Babadi’s performances will have impressed scouts from around Europe but PSV have a plan for their star youngster and it won’t be long before he appears on the Philips Stadion pitch.

Silvano Vos

A midfielder with huge potential, Vos would challenge Slory as the MVP of the Netherlands side during the tournament.

An athletic and physical defensive midfielder, Vos was sensational throughout the tournament and it appears Ajax have a future star on their hands. Vos controlled games from the midfield and always remained completely calm under pressure.

Vos has high-level decision making and his technique is also excellent. This was showcased in the final when he played a wonderful ball to Slory for the opening goal.

The 17-year-old was impressive for Ajax in the UEFA Youth League last season and he has already made his professional debut with Jong Ajax in the Keuken Kampioen Divisie. In five appearances, Vos has one goal.

Next season, Vos will be looking to make more minutes for Jong Ajax and could catch the eye of new Ajax boss Alfred Schreuder. A debut in the KNVB Cup could not be ruled out.

Mike Kleijn

The midfielder was only used sparingly after only just returning from an injury, but in the minutes he did get, Kleijn proved why he is regarded as one of the Netherlands biggest talents.

A sensational player, who added drive and intelligence to the Netherlands midfield, Kleijn finished the tournament with two assists but only managed to start one game. A central midfielder, who can also play at left-back or in a defensive role, Kleijn has top-level passing ability and can read the game better than most at this age level.

Kleijn is highly regarded at Feyenoord and was included on the bench during their Europa Conference League clash with Partizan last season. He is set to train with the first team this summer and a debut next season is on the cards.

Dean Huijsen

The lanky centre-back didn’t have a great final but overall, Huijsen was one of the strongest Netherlands players and his leadership at the back was key.

Huijsen impressed with his ability to bring the ball out from the back and his composure in possession. He was also crucial with two penalties in the group stages. He may be tall, but Huijsen’s technique is excellent and he has the ability to be a top level defender.

The 17-year-old holds Dutch and Spanish citizenship and made the move to Juventus from the Malaga academy in 2021. He is free-scoring for the Italian side U17’s due to his ability in the air and he will be hoping to continue his development with the U19 side next season.

Huijsen proved at the tournament that he is one of the Netherlands most exciting defenders and Italy is the perfect place for him to continue his development.

Thijmen Blokzijl

Huijsen’s partner at the back, Blokzijl had a sensational tournament and he will have had his name written down by any scouts that watched the Netherlands.

Blokzijl is not as physical as Huijsen but his mobility and intelligence made him a standout at the back. The final showcased this with Blokzijl in the right place at the right time over and over again to stop France from running riot.

The Groningen youngster is also comfortable at bringing the ball out from the back and his passing range was eye-catching.

Blokzijl has made his debut at U21 level with Groningen but has yet to make it in the first-team despite appearing on the bench three times last season. With his rapid development, a first appearance in the Eredivisie will not be far away.




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