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Opportunity missed? Ryan Gravenberch’s World Cup spot under threat amid frustrations at Bayern Munich

The 20-year-old passed up a chance to reunite with former Ajax boss Erik ten Hag at Manchester United and is now under threat of missing out on selection for the Netherland’s World Cup squad under Louis Van Gaal

The Netherlands kept their undefeated run in the UEFA Nations League alive and kicking last night after securing a 2-0 win against Poland in Warsaw, with Louis Van Gaal’s men just a draw away against rivals Belgium on Sunday guaranteed to secure them a spot in the final knockout stage as winners of Group A4.

Goals from Cody Gakpo and Steven Bergwijn on either side of the halftime interval were enough to take all three points on their travels, but one notable absentee during this international cycle is Bayern Munich midfield starlet Ryan Gravenberch.

Highly touted during his time with Dutch giants AFC Ajax, Gravenberch jumped from Amsterdam to Bavaria when he opted to join Julian Nagelsmann’s Rekordmeister in the hopes of breaking into the senior setup and taking the next big jump in a budding young career.

Unfortunately for the Amsterdam native, the script has now played out as he first expected and the 20-year-old international is now under threat of missing out on selection by Netherlands boss Louis Van Gaal for his nation’s trip to the 2022 World Cup in Qatar after he failed to receive a call up in the latest squad.

The midfielder is now said to be one of a cadre of frustrated players at Bayern under Nagelsmann as rumblings of discontent have begun to surface from the Allianz Arena as the Bundesliga champions have failed to win either of their last four domestic fixtures, but more importantly for Gravenberch, the promises made by the club which led him to choose Bayern over a reunion with Erik ten Hag at Manchester United have yet to come to fruition.

It was expected that Bayern would part ways with Austrian midfielder Marcel Sabitzer this summer, with the way paved for Gravenberch to go toe-to-toe with German international Leon Goretzka to partner Joshua Kimmich in the center of the park, but despite his impressive performances in training as well as an excellent display in the club’s 5-0 DFB-Pokal win over Viktoria Köln earlier in the season, Nagelsmann has seen fit to continue to deploy the same players instead of the Dutchman, despite performances from both Sabitzer and Goretzka coming under scrutiny.

“Manchester United were very interested in Gravenberch. Erik ten Hag asked him to reconsider his choice as he would immediately be a starter in Manchester. The player, however, insisted on joining Bayern because he was convinced with the plan presented to him.”

Should he miss the plane to Qatar and remain on the outside looking in at Bayern, it would be another unfortunate example of a young player making a key error when deciding their next port of call.

Given that United was adamant about securing midfield reinforcements in the summer, which ultimately led them to make a free move for Christian Eriksen, quick surveying of the midfield options at both clubs would have revealed the more logical direction for Gravenberch to take despite Bayern being the more attractive destination at the time in terms of the club’s increased ability and capacity to win major honors in the immediate future.

With Qatar 2022 just two months away, the situation for Gravenberch must change quickly if he is to be given a chance to represent his country on the beautiful games’ biggest stage.


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Andrew Thompson

US-based Football writer. German football guru with a wealth of experience in youth development and analysis. Data aficionado. Happily championing the notion that Americans have a knowledgeable voice in the beautiful game.

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