Netherlands manager Ronald Koeman has criticized Liverpool’s new signing, Ryan Gravenberch, for declining a call-up to the Dutch under-21 national team.
Gravenberch made the move to Liverpool from Bayern Munich on deadline day, with the clubs agreeing to an initial fee of £35 million that could rise to £40 million with add-ons.
The 21-year-old was a primary target for manager Jurgen Klopp last summer before he joined Bayern Munich, and Klopp maintained his interest in the midfielder leading up to the recent transfer window.
Gravenberch did not make his Liverpool debut in Sunday’s 3-0 victory over Aston Villa, as he was not registered in time for the Friday 12pm cutoff to be eligible to play.
As a result, he will have to wait until after the international break to make his debut for Liverpool and will not participate in any competitive matches until then.
That is because Gravenberch turned down the opportunity to play for the Netherlands U21 side, as confirmed inan official Dutch FA (KNVB) statement: “Ryan Gravenberch will not travel to Zeist this international match to join the Dutch Juniors.
“The Liverpool FC midfielder has indicated to KNVB coach Michael Reiziger that he wants to focus on his new club during the international match in September and will therefore not make himself available.”
Now, Netherlands boss Koeman has responded to the midfielder’s decision.
Koeman hits out at Gravenberch over Liverpool decision
Ryan Gravenberch is facing the prospect of expulsion from the Netherlands national team by Ronald Koeman after opting out of joining up with the U21 squad for the upcoming international break.
— Anything Liverpool (@AnythingLFC_) September 4, 2023
Gravenberch has collected 11 caps for the senior Dutch national team, but has not played since a one-minute substitute appearance against Belgium in September 2022. He was not named in the nation’s 2022 World Cup squad.
He was not in line to receive any more caps during the current international window, but could have had the opportunity to get minutes under his belt with the most senior age-group side.
Speaking in a press conference on Monday, Koeman was highly critical of the midfielder, before sending him what appeared to be a warning about his international opportunities in future.
He fumed (quotes viaVoetbal Nieuws): “For Ryan Gravenberch, we are not happy with that. Nigel [De Jong] has also been in contact with him. You can make a step through good performances at the Dutch Juniors.”
Koeman brought up the case of Bayer Leverkusen wing-back Jeremie Frimpong, who previously turned down a call-up to the U21 side and has not been named in the senior squad: “We are not happy with cancellations at the Dutch Juniors, we believe that he should always be available.
“But within the KNVB we have said that he [Frimpong] is not available for this period.
“That is your duty as a player, to play for any team. You can see that [not being selected] as a kind of punishment.”