Five youngsters to watch out for as France face the Netherlands
Jamie Clark | 10 October 2016
Five Netherlands v France youngsters to look out for
Up to 16 players aged 23 and under could be involved in Monday night’s World Cup qualifier between France and the Netherlands.
Domestic Dutch football is often a hotbed for young talent. Even big Eredivisie sides such as Ajax, Feyenoord and PSV Eindhoven are prepared to part with their wonderkinds before they fully mature.
Yet for all that promise, the Netherlands failed to make the Euro 2016 finals, hosted by latest opponents France. The Dutch are 11/5 with Coral for a home win, with France 5/4 favourites for victory and the draw at 2/1.
Les Bleus finished runners-up behind a Portugal team packed with a similar blend of youth and experience. Didier Deschamps is bringing through younger legs in both defence and attack en route to the 2018 World Cup in Russia, though.
If you like football, then you’ve probably heard of Paul Pogba. If you pay attention to the Premier League, then you’ll know his talented Manchester United teammates Memphis Depay and Anthony Martial. They could line up against one another here.
Dutch frontman Vincent Janssen is regularly turning out for Tottenham, meanwhile. France defensive duo Raphael Varane and Lucas Digne are with respective La Liga giants Real Madrid and Barcelona, and winger Kinsley Coman turns out for Bayern Munich.
What about the lesser-known young players to watch out for? Coral football writers pick out five Netherlands v France youngsters to keep an eye on…
Rick Karsdorp (Netherlands)
Feyenoord full back and Dutch cap Karsdorp, 21, is playing an understated role in the Rotterdam giants’ excellent start of the Eredivisie season.
Contributing two assists and aiding his club to six league clean sheets so far, injury to regular Dutch right back Daryl Janmaat creates an opening for Karsdorp to stake a claim.
Aymeric Laporte (France)
Deschamps needs to cap 22-year-old Athletic Bilbao star defender Laporte and quickly, as Spain also have a claim on the elegant centre back.
Linked with leaving the Basque Country again this summer, a pre-Euro 2016 injury prevented that from happening. Laporte is hot property, however, and Les Bleus should be looking to get him on the pitch against the Dutch. Only a competitive cap can stop the Spaniards sniffing around him.
Jetro Willems (Netherlands)
PSV Eindhoven left back Willems, like Laporte, has over 100 league games under his belt. With the Lightbulbs since 2011, it’s a small wonder he’s still there.
Already playing 21 times for the senior Dutch national team, Willems went to Euro 2012 as a late replacement for Stoke City’s Erik Pieters. Remaining in and around the setup ever since, only three selected defenders have more caps.
Tonny Vilhena (Netherlands)
Box-to-box Feyenoord midfielder Vilhena, 21, popped up to score a Europa League winner against Manchester United last month.
A late inclusion by Danny Blind on the Clockwork Orange roster, he too has huge experience for his age with more than 100 Eredivisie outings. Vilhena is an 11/2 chance to net against France anytime.
Nabil Fekir (France)
Like Laporte, Lyon forward Fekir’s international prospects have to date been hampered by injuries. Kids clubmate Alexandre Lacazette is sidelined now, though, so Fekir’s relished the responsibility of being their main man.
Adept on the wing, in a withdrawn role or as a striker, versatile attacker Fekir starred with a brace in Lyon’s 5-1 home romp over Montpellier last month. If you fancy him to score against the Dutch, then back Nabil Fekir odds of 2/1 in the anytime market.
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Which Netherlands v France youngsters are you looking forward to seeing in action on ITV4 on Monday, October 10th? Have your say in the comments section below!