AMSTERDAM : German-based goalkeeper Mark Flekken and Club Brugge attacker Noa Lang were handed first call-ups by the Netherlands as coach Louis van Gaal on Friday included them in his squad for World Cup qualifiers against Latvia and Gibraltar this month.
Lang moves up from the under-21 team after impressing with Belgium’s Club Brugge in the Champions League. Flekken was largely unknown to the Dutch having spent his entire career in Germany, but his recent performances for Freiburg have caught the coach’s eye.
“He’s done good things in the Bundesliga and I want to see him close up to get a better understanding of his qualities,” said Van Gaal in a statement.
The Dutch play Latvia in Riga on Oct. 8 and Gibraltar in Rotterdam three days later as they look to solidify top spot in Group G and move closer to qualifying for the World Cup in Qatar next year.
The Netherlands lead Norway on goal difference with Turkey third in the standings, two points back. The Dutch thumped Turkey 6-1 in Amsterdam in their last qualifier.
Goalkeepers: Justin Bijlow (Feyenoord Rotterdam), Joel Drommel (PSV Eindhoven), Mark Flekken (SC Freiburg), Tim Krul (Norwich City), Remco Pasveer (Ajax Amsterdam)
Defenders: Nathan Ake (Manchester City), Daley Blind (Ajax Amsterdam), Matthijs de Ligt (Juventus), Stefan de Vrij, Denzel Dumfries (both Inter Milan), Tyrell Malacia (Feyenoord Rotterdam), Jurrien Timber (Ajax Amsterdam), Virgil van Dijk (Liverpool),
Midfielders: Marten de Roon (Atalanta), Ryan Gravenberch (Ajax Amsterdam), Frenkie de Jong (Barcelona), Davy Klaassen (Ajax Amsterdam), Teun Koopmeiners (Atalanta), Guus Til (Feyenoord Rotterdam), Georginio Wijnaldum (Paris St Germain)
Forwards: Steven Berghuis (Ajax Amsterdam), Luuk de Jong, Memphis Depay (both Barcelona), Cody Gakpo (PSV Eindhoven), Noa Lang (Club Brugge), Donyell Malen (Borussia Dortmund), Wout Weghorst (VfL Wolfsburg).
(Writing by Mark Gleeson in Cape Town; Editing by Toby Davis)