Football

Manchester United’s Daley Blind dropped from Netherlands squad

Manchester United’s Daley Blind was not included in the final Netherlands squad for this month’s friendlies in England and Portugal as new coach Ronald Koeman named five uncapped players.

Blind had been named to the 33-man preliminary squad earlier this month but was omitted from the 25-man squad revealed on Friday, as were Wolfsburg’s Jeffrey Bruma and PSV’s Luuk de Jong.

Blind has only started three games for United this season and has not played at all since suffering an ankle injury in January.

Instead, Koeman signalled that he is going to shake up a team that failed to qualify for two consecutive major tournaments by bringing in 18-year-old Ajax winger Justin Kluivert, the son of former Netherlands striker Patrick Kluivert, who also was 18 when he made his debut and went on to score 40 goals in 79 internationals.

Koeman’s other new names were three AZ Alkmaar players — goalkeeper Marco Bizot, midfielder Guus Til and striker Wout Weghorst. The final new face was Hans Hateboer of Atalanta.

There was no place for veteran Feyenoord striker Robin van Persie and it was the first squad since midfield playmaker Wesley Sneijder announced his retirement from international football after talks with Koeman.

Netherlands take 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.

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