The Europa League group stages begin on Thursday night with a number of Dutchmen looking to get their hands on the trophy. Michael Bell picks his top ten Dutchmen to watch.

Memphis Depay

The winger shook off his disappointing spell at Manchester United to become an important part of the Lyon attack last season, scoring five league goals and adding eight assists. He was ineligible for the club’s run to the semi-finals of the Europa League but will be aiming to play a major role in this campaign with the final taking place in Lyon next May.

Lyon face Apollon Limassol in their first group match and Memphis will be looking to continue his early season form which has seen him net once and provide three assists in three games. He set up the winner against Guingamp at the weekend and heads to Cyprus full of confidence and with a point to prove in Europe.

Virgil Misidjan

The tricky winger was seen as a big talent when he broke into the Willem II first team, and was linked with a number of top Eredivisie sides, but decided to join Ludogorets in 2013. He has since fallen off the radar for most Dutch football fans but has become an integral part of the Bulgarian side’s attack, helping them to three league titles.

Misidjan, who wears his nickname Vuka on his back, has started this season on fire with four goals and two assists in eight league games and he will be aiming to impress in the Europa League.

The now 24-year-old has been linked recently with a return to Netherlands with PSV, and an impressive showing in Europe could see him earn a move in January.

Justin Hoogma

The talented centre-back was picked up from Heracles Almelo by Hoffenheim this summer, but Hoogma is yet to make his first team debut at the club.

The 19-year-old may get his chance in the Europa League should Julian Nagelsmann decide to rotate his squad. Hoogma will be eager to impress his new coach and force his way into the first team for the Bundesliga campaign.

A tall centre-back, Hoogma is great in the air, but loves to have the ball at his feet and play out from the back. He is definitely a future Netherlands international if he develops properly in Germany.

Eljero Elia

Elia decided to leave Eredivisie champions Feyenoord for Istanbul Basaksehir this summer and has had an incredible start in Turkey, netting four times in eight games. He scored three of those goals as the club narrowly missed out on reaching the Champions League against Sevilla.

The speedy winger will now be looking to inspire his new side to a positive Europa League campaign, starting on Thursday with a home tie with Misidjan’s Ludogorets.

Elia has been one of the most in-form Dutch attackers around Europe so far this season and will be looking to catch Dick Advocaat’s eye in the Europa League.

Karim Rekik

Rekik’s career stalled at Marseille, where he barely saw any football last season, but now at Hertha Berlin, the defender is starting to regain confidence and he will get the chance to impress in the Europa League.

The versatile defender has played every minute of Hertha Berlin’s opening four games as a centre-back and he should be in the line-up on Thursday as they face Athletic Bilbao.

Rekik was included in the Netherlands squad for their two recent World Cup qualifiers, and the former PSV and Manchester City defender’s reputation will continue to rise if he stars in Europe this season.

Hans Hateboer

Marten de Roon is the star Dutchman at Atalanta but the one to keep an eye on will be full-back Hans Hateboer, who has featured in all three of the club’s Serie A games so far this season.

Hateboer was one of the Eredivisie’s top full back’s while at Groningen and has been enhancing his reputation at Atalanta since joining the Italians last January. The 23-year-old will now be looking to make an impression in Europe as Atalanta return to a European competition for the first time in 26 years.

Wesley Sneijder

The Dutch veteran moved to OGC Nice this summer from Galatasaray looking to prove he can still make an impact in one of Europe’s biggest leagues. It’s been seven years since the midfielder almost single-handedly led Inter Milan to the Champions League title, and he will be looking to inspire a talented Nice side as they look to go far in the Europa League.

Sneijder was widely criticised for his performance for Netherlands against France and there are calls for him to be dropped permanently from the national team. However, he can silence his critics with some impressive performances for Nice, starting with their tie against Zulte Waregem on Thursday.

Bryan Linssen

Vitesse Arnhem are the sole Dutch representatives in the Europa League this season, but Henk Fraser is overseeing a talented squad and one of the key men will be winger Bryan Linssen.

The 26-year-old was a star for Groningen over the past few years, but switched to the GelreDome this summer.He has started the season in great form with two goals and an assist in their opening four Eredivisie matches. His strike against Excelsior was particularly special, with Janssen hammering a shot into the top corner from thirty yards on the volley.

If Vitesse are to get out of a tough looking group they will need to be at their very best, but in Linssen they have a player capable of doing something special at any moment.

Davy Klaassen

After captaining Ajax to the Europa League final last season, Klaassen is now with Everton and will want to shake off the disappointment of missing out on the trophy by helping the Premier League side reach Lyon.

Klaassen gained a reputation at Ajax as a man for the big occasion, scoring five times in Europe last season including a double in the quarter-final 1st leg win over Schalke.

He has been in and out of the Everton line-up so far this season due to a foot injury, but he will be aiming to make a big impact for Ronald Koeman’s side in Europe, starting with the tie against Atalanta on Thursday.

Stefan De Vrij

De Vrij was linked with a big money move away from Lazio this summer, but it was his fellow Dutchman Wesley Hoedt, who left instead. The centre back has now had an excellent start to the Serie A campaign, which has seen his side win two and draw one of their opening three games.

A number of big clubs will still have a keen eye on the former Feyenoord star and he will be looking to impress potential suitors in the Europa League. The 25-year-old Dutch international has a reputation as one of the strongest defenders in Italy and will play a huge role for Lazio as they look to win their first major European trophy since the 1999 UEFA Cup winners cup.

First up for De Vrij is a trip home to face Vitesse.

Some other Dutchmen to watch: Maarten Stekelenburg (Everton), Sandy Walsh (Zulte Waregem), Kenny Tete (Lyon), Luc Castaignos, Remko Pasveer, Alexander Buttner, Navarone Foor, Thomas Bruns (All Vitesse), Mick van Buren (Slavia Prague), Marten de Roon (Atalanta), Mitchell Donald (Red Star Belgrade)

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