In only a few weeks, Louis van Gaal will announce his provisional squad for the World Cup. Michael Bell takes a look at each position and the players battling for a place in the squad.

The World Cup is on the horizon and a provisional Oranje squad is only a few weeks away. Then by the 13th of November, Louis van Gaal will have to confirm his final Netherlands squad which can consist of between 23-26 players.

Let’s take a look at each position and the players battling for a spot. The formation is likely to be a 5-3-2 going into the tournament.

Goalkeepers

Possibly the weakest position in the squad, Louis van Gaal has looked at a number of goalkeepers over the last international break, with Ajax stopper Remko Pasveer the favourite to be number one at the moment.

Jasper Cillessen (NEC) and Mark Flekken (Freiburg) are almost certain to be in the squad, while Justin Bijlow (Feyenoord) has to prove himself after being dropped for the wins over Poland and Belgium.

Tim Krul will not be part of the squad after he refused to take part in penalty practice after being left out of the most recent internationals. U21 stopper Kjell Scherpen is also unlikely to feature, along with Joel Drommel, who has been dropped by PSV. Andries Noppert of Heerenveen could be the wild card.

Likely to be in the squad: Pasveer, Flekken, Cillessen

Battling for a spot: Bijlow, Noppert, Scherpen

Wildcard: Noppert

Out: Krul, Drommel

Right-back

Denzel Dumfries is the first choice right-back and this is unlikely to change as long as the Inter Milan star stays fit.

In terms of a back-up, Van Gaal has favoured Ajax youngster Devyne Rensch in recent times, but he does have other options who will be looking to break into the squad. Hans Hateboer of Atalanta has time to prove himself, while Jordan Teze could be in as an option because of his versatility.

In terms of a wildcard, Bayer Leverkusen right-back Jeremie Frimpong is in excellent form and could claim a spot. Van Gaal named him in his most recent provisional squad but he did not earn a call-up. Netherlands could miss out on Frimpong, though, with Ghana circling.

The other option is Feyenoord youngster Lutsharel Geertruida. AS Roma’s Rick Karsdorp will not be in the squad after picking up an injury.

Likely to be in the squad: Dumfries

Battling for a spot: Rensch, Frimpong, Hateboer,

Wildcard: Geertruida

Out: Karsdorp

Left-Back

He is not the most popular Oranje player but Daley Blind remains the first choice for Van Gaal and he is almost certain to be in the squad as long as he remains fit.

Tyrell Malacia of Manchester United will also be in the squad, with Van Gaal even using him as a left-centre back in the most recent internationals.

In terms of other options, Owen Wijndal is battling fitness issues and he has yet to break into a starting spot for Ajax. Mitchel Bakker of Bayer Leverkusen could also be involved, while a wildcard could be PSV’s Mauro Junior, who is returning to fitness and is eligible for Netherlands as well as Brazil.

Likely to be in the squad: Blind, Malacia

Battling for a spot: Wijndal, Bakker

Wildcard: Mauro Junior

Centre-backs

The strongest area in Oranje and possibly the most settled positions as Van Gaal seems assured with Virgil van Dijk (Liverpool), Jurrien Timber (Ajax) and Nathan Ake (Man City) as the starting back three.

The trio looked good in the most recent internationals and it appears Matthijs de Ligt (Bayern Munich) and Stefan de Vrij (Inter) will be the back-up options.

Van Gaal may look for a versatile option to go into the squad, meaning Jordan Teze (PSV) could be added as he can play multiple positions. Blind and Malacia have also been used in the centre.

In terms of a wildcard, Sven Botman of Newcastle United could push into the squad if he continues to impress in the Premier League.

Bruno Martins Indi (AZ) will not be in the squad after suffering an injury.

Likely to be involved: Van Dijk, Ake, Timber, De Ligt, De Vrij

Battling for a spot: Teze

Wildcard: Botman

Out: Martins Indi

Midfielders

Van Gaal will be hoping that he will have Frenkie de Jong and Teun Koopmeiners fit for the World Cup after they suffered injuries during the most recent international period. The Barcelona and Atalanta stars are key to the Oranje midfielder and would most likely be starters in Qatar if they are fit.

Marten de Roon (Atalanta), and Steven Berghuis (Ajax) are also assured of a spot if they remain fit, while Davy Klaassen (Ajax) is also likely, despite his lack of playing time.

Ajax youngster Kenneth Taylor looked good in his 45-minute cameo against Belgium and he will be on the plane if his form remains.

There are a number of players battling for their spot with Jordy Clasie (AZ), Jerdy Schouten (Bologna) and Guus Til (PSV) missing out on the most recent squad after previously being involved. Ryan Gravenberch did get called in eventually, but the midfielder is not yet a starter at Bayern Munich and needs to convince Van Gaal.

In terms of a wildcard, PSV Eindhoven duo Joey Veerman and Xavi Simons will be pushing to take a spot in the coming weeks after missing out on the most recent Oranje games.

Georginio Wijnaldum is not going to be in the squad due to injury, while Donny van de Beek has not forced his way into the Manchester United squad so Van Gaal will not select him.

Likely to be involved: De Jong, De Roon, Koopmeiners, Berghuis, Klaassen, Taylor

Battling for a spot: Clasie, Schouten, Til, Gravenberch

Wildcard: Veerman, Simons

Out: Wijndaldum, Van de Beek

Attackers

Memphis Depay is the most important attacker for Netherlands and if he remains fit he will be heading to Qatar, even if he doesn’t play for Barcelona in the coming weeks.

Steven Bergwijn of Ajax is the most likely option to play alongside him in the attack, while Cody Gakpo of PSV Eindhoven is assured of a place in the squad due to his versatility.

Van Gaal then has a number of options to choose from in terms of wing options and in the striker role. Vincent Janssen (Antwerp) has battled his way back into the squad, while Wout Weghorst (Besiktas) is also an option up front.

Arnaut Danjuma (Villarreal) looked certain to be in a few months ago, but he is only just coming back from injury and is yet to play this season. Noa Lang (Club Brugge) is another looking to come back from injury, along with Luuk de Jong (PSV) and Donyell Malen (Borussia Dortmund)

The wildcard is Ajax striker Brian Brobbey, who got called into the Netherlands squad for the win over Belgium, but he remained on the bench.

Likely to be involved: Memphis, Bergwijn, Gakpo

Battling for a spot: Janssen, Weghorst, De Jong, Danjuma, Lang, De Jong, Malen

Wildcard: Brobbey




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