Netherlands U17’s impressed in the European Championships, but who are the top five players to keep an eye on in the future.

  • By Michael Bell
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o17Maarten Stekelenburg’s side were excellent throughout the tournament in Malta, breezing through the group stages, and hammering Scotland 5-0 in the semi-final’s, before an agonizing 4-1 penalty defeat by England in the final.

While it is hard to judge players future’s from tournament’s such as this, the following five players were hugely impressive, and could have a big future in the game:

Jari Schuurman 

schuurmanAge:17 Club: Feyenoord position: Midfield

Jari Schuurman ended the Euro’s as joint top scorer with four goals, including the equaliser in the 1-1 final draw with England, while he was the only Dutchman to net in the penalty shoot-out.

A product of the famous Varkenoord academy which has produced the likes of Tonny Vilhena, Jean Paul Boetius, Jordy Clasie, and Stefan de Vrij in recent years. A tall box to box midfielder, Schuurman has great passing ability, and showed an eye for goal in the tournament.

The player compares himself to Marco van Ginkel, while he is named after Ajax legend Jari Litmanen. Schuurman has a big future ahead.

Steven Bergwijn

bergwijn aAge:16 Club: PSV Position:Winger

Bergwijn caught the eye with his direct running and menacing play on the wing, and ended the tournament with three goals and three assists. The youngster is versatile along the front line, playing either on the left or right, using his terrific skills, and low centre of gravity to breeze past opponents.

The forward began his career with Ajax, but decided to move to PSV at the age of 13, and after working his way through the youth system, Bergwijn has been playing recently with the U19 squad. His talent is so big that Bergwijn has even trained with the PSV first team, despite only being 16.

PSV smartly extended Bergwijn’s contract until 2017 before the tournament. You could see the winger appearing in the Eredivisie next season.

Bilal Ould-Chikh

ould chikhAge:16 Club: Twente Position: Winger

Despite only being 16, Ould-Chikh has already made his debut for the Twente first team, coming on as a substitute on the final day of the season in a 2-2 draw against PEC Zwolle. His debut came after the winger impressed in seven appearances for Twente’s reserves in the Eerste Divisie, scoring twice.

Ould-Chikh then took this form to Malta and impressed throughout the tournament, especially the semi final against Scotland. Like Bergwijn, Ould Chikh loves to run at opponents using his explosive pace, and fantastic dribbling skills.

One of the most exciting young talents in the country, expect Ould Chikh to star for FC Twente next season.

Abdelhak Nouri

nouriAge:17 Club:Ajax Position:Attacking Midfielder

One of the reasons, Netherlands U17’s reached the final was due to the excellent ability of Nouri in the centre of midfield. The Ajax youngster controlled things alongside Schuurman, scoring twice, and assisting three times on route to the final.

Technically excellent, Nouri uses his vision, and dribbling skills to cut through opponents, and has a killer pass, which can be compared to previous Ajax stars such as Wesley Sneijder, Rafael van der Vaart or Christian Eriksen.

Before the tournament began, Nouri was making a name for himself at the Aegon Future’s cup, helping Ajax win the trophy after beating Liverpool in the final. The 17-year-old was named player of the tournament.

Currently in the Ajax A1 squad, Nouri could rise further next season, and should make his debut for the reserve side in the Eerste Divisie.

Calvin Verdonk

verdonk aAge: 17 Club:Feyenoord Position:Defender

The left footed centre back was one of the star performers for the Dutch throughout the tournament, impressing with his calmness, and awareness at the back. Verdonk also showed an eye for goal during the Euros, not only netting a free-kick against Turkey, but also a stunning 30-yard strike against England in the group stages. Unluckily Verdonk was one of the players to miss in the final penalty shoot-out, firing wide.

Alongside Schuurman, Verdonk is a part of the Feyenoord U17 side that won their league title last season, and the defender has recently pledged his future to the Rotterdam club. Liverpool and PSV have reportedly been sniffing around Verdonk, but he has now signed his first professional contract at Feyenoord.

Like most Dutch defenders, Verdonk looks to build from the back, and has an excellent passing range, comparable to Feyenoord centre back Stefan de Vrij, or Ajax’s Joel Veltman.

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