Calvin Stengs has been struggling in front of goal recently which led to much discussion this week. However, with AZ Alkmaar playing two crucial games in the space of four days the winger has a big chance to prove his doubters wrong.

  • By Michael Bell
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The 21-year-old began the season in great form for AZ and was rewarded with his Netherlands debut in November after scoring nine goals and contributing 10 assists in 23 games.

The attention on the young star has increased since he pulled on the Oranje jersey for the first time in the 5-0 win over Estonia, with several big clubs, including Juventus, linked with a summer move for the winger.

However, in the 15 games since his international bow, Stengs has struggled to add to his impressive early season figures, contributing only one goal and one assist.

Ex-AZ star Kenneth Perez was shocked by these stats when told them on Fox Sports by OPTA, “Because we received the stat just before the broadcast started. I really thought: I must have made a mistake in a rush.

“In the Netherlands, talents are quickly hyped. But then again, if it goes less, there is often understanding. But one goal in fifteen matches, that’s not good. ”

Stengs has a lot more to his game than just goals and assists, and has never been prolific through his short and injury hit career so far. Last season, he only managed three goals and four assists, but impressed with his passing and dribbling ability. He plays almost like a quarter-back at times, spreading the ball around and doesn’t just do his best work around the penalty area.

On Sunday, Stengs may not have scored or assisted but he was widely regarded as the best player on the pitch in the victory against PEC Zwolle. He created three chances, completed five dribbles, and took five shots in an eye-catching performance. It was not his fault that his teammates couldn’t finish the chances that Stengs created for them.

However, attackers are, rather unfairly at times, rated on productivity around goal, and with a place at Euro 2020 up for grabs, Stengs will need to prove himself to Ronald Koeman, especially with plenty of other wingers vying for a spot.

Steven Bergwijn, Steven Berghuis, Quincy Promes, Ryan Babel, Javairo Dilrosun, Justin Kluivert, and even his AZ teammate Myron Boadu, are all fighting Stengs for Koeman’s attention, with the Netherlands boss set to name a squad for two end of month friendlies in the next few weeks.

Luckily for Stengs he has time and in the next four days, two crucial games to lay down a marker. On Thursday, AZ will look to remain in the Europa League when they travel to Austria for a clash with LASK Linz, who currently top their league. Three days later, AZ head to Ajax in a top of the Eredivisie clash.

If Stengs can star for AZ in these two big games then the doubters will be proved wrong and he will be right back in the running for a Euro 2020 spot.




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