Ronald Koeman has revealed that the Dutch Football Association have spoken to Dutch-American defender Sergino Dest about switching his allegiance to the Dutch national team.
After making his international debut last month for the USMNT, Dest, 18, turned down calls up to both the U.S. men’s national team and the Netherlands for their October games.
Dest would have been cap-tied to either nation had he played in their competitive games during the October international window.
Speaking ahead of the Netherlands EURO 2020 qualifier in Rotterdam against Northern Ireland, Koeman confirmed he and the KNVB technical director met with Dest and tried to woo him but didn’t guarantee him a spot on the national team roster.
“Nico-Jan Hoogma and I have spoken with him,” Koeman said. “We have sketched the picture about his future with the Oranje. I don’t promise anyone, but I told him that I see a future for him at the Dutch national team.”
USMNT head coach Gregg Berhalter has previously said that he’s spoken with Dest about his future and that the discussions were positive.
For now, Dest is taking time to decide which nation he wants to play for. And that’s smart.
He’s played for the U.S. men’s national team at youth level and is no doubt going to be a starter for the U.S. for many years to come. A versatile player who is most comfortable at right back, Dest is a regular for Ajax and is the latest gem to develop at their academy. But after playing for the USMNT in friendlies against Mexico and Uruguay last month, was he put off by their style of play and the immense rebuild underway under Berhalter?
With Denzel Dumfries as his main competitor in the right back position, Dest may have to wait for his chance with the Dutch national team. But the Oranje are on their way up under Koeman, having reached the UEFA Nations League final and well on their way to reaching EURO 2020 with Virgil Van Dijk, Matthijs de Ligt, Memphis Depay and Frenkie de Jong leading the charge.
This Dutch team could be very good and a force on the global stage for the next 10 years. If you’re Dest, why wouldn’t you want to be part of this?
Can you really say the same about the trajectory of the USMNT under Berhalter? Nope. The USMNT is a program which will be absolutely delighted just to make it to the 2022 World Cup in Qatar, and their young core is talented, but not on the same level as the Dutch youngsters Koeman has to work with.
Yes, he obviously has strong feelings about the USMNT and his allegiance at youth level has been crystal clear. But he never expected to be in this position this early in his career, as his dramatic rise at Ajax has the U.S. and the Netherlands involved in a tug-of-war for his services.