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Koeman names 5 newcomers in his first Netherlands squad

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THE HAGUE, Netherlands (AP) New coach Ronald Koeman has named five uncapped players in the Netherlands squad for his first international in charge, signaling that he is going to shake up a team that failed to qualify for two consecutive major tournaments.

[ MORE: JPW’s picks ]

The newcomers named Friday in Koeman’s 25-man squad include 18-year-old Ajax winger Justin Kluivert, the son of former Netherlands striker Patrick Kluivert.

Koeman’s other new names were AZ Alkmaar players Marco Bizot, Guus Til and Wout Weghorst and Hans Hateboer of Atalanta.

The Netherlands takes on England on March 23 in Amsterdam and Portugal three days later in Geneva.

With the Dutch having failed to qualify for this year’s World Cup in Russia, Koeman has time to experiment as he seeks his strongest team.

Justin Kluivert reveals the PL clubs he’d like to join

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Okay, this is a bit different, but I applaud thinking outside the box.

[ VIDEO: Premier League highlights

It’s not often a player comes out and names the teams he would like to join in the Premier League, but Ajax’s teenage sensation Justin Kluivert has done just that.

Kluivert, 18, is having a fine season for the Dutch giants as he follows in the footsteps of his legendary favor, Patrick. The Dutch U-21 international has scored six goals and registered four assists in 16 starts in the Eredivisie this season from the left wing, his first full campaign with the Amsterdam club.

His contract runs out in 2019 but he is said to be in talks over a new deal and is quite happy to stay at Ajax, for now…

Speaking to Dutch outlet Helden, Kluivert revealed he would be open to any of these four Premier League clubs in the future.

“England appeals to me: Arsenal, Tottenham, Chelsea or Manchester United are nice clubs where I can see myself playing in a few years,” Kluivert said. “If you get a nice offer, you never know.”

Well played, young Justin.

This is one of the least subtle “I’m happy with where I am right now… but you never know” statements in soccer history.

Kluivert is obviously an incredibly talented forward and the fact that he’s been in and around Ajax’s first team over the past 12-18 months says it all. He’s come through the ranks at the one of the most demanding youth academies on the planet and his pedigree is undoubted given his father was one of the finest forwards Ajax and the Netherlands ever produced.

Which would suit Kluivert best?

You’d have to say Tottenham. Mauricio Pochettino‘s record with youngsters says it all and he’d like get game time right away if he joined within the next two years as Erik Lamela, Heung-Min Son and others have blown hot and cold out wide over the past few years. Look at what Pochettino has done for Harry Kane and Dele Alli, while fellow Ajax products Christian Eriksen and Jan Vertonghen have flourished under him at Spurs.

Much has been made of Jose Mourinho chatting with Kluivert Jnr. on the pitch after Manchester United’s Europa League final victory against Ajax last season, but would moving to Old Trafford to compete with Anthony Martial, Romelu Lukaku, Alexis Sanchez and Marcus Rashford for playing time be a smart move? Nope.

Arsenal would be a better option than Chelsea for Kluivert, as the latter stockpile young talent and barely use them before loaning them out and then hopefully making a profit on the deal, while the Gunners have at least got a history of giving youngsters a chance.

But if I was Justin Kluivert I’d go to Spurs.