Liverpool summer signing Ryan Gravenberch has been told he is making a ‘bad choice’ in opting to stay at Anfield during the international break, rather than representing his country.
Gravenberch was heavily linked with Liverpool throughout the summer transfer window as Jurgen Klopp searched for midfield recruits. However, it was not until the final few days of the window that things really got moving.
On Thursday evening, David Ornstein of The Athletic revealed Liverpool had reached an agreement with Bayern for Gravenberch’s transfer. The Reds then announced his move on deadline day, with the former Ajax star penning a five-year contract on Merseyside.
Liverpool will pay Bayern an initial €35m (£29.9m), though the fee could hit €40m (£34.3m) depending on add-ons.
Upon joining Klopp’s side, Gravenberch said he is ‘very happy’ to sign for ‘one of the biggest clubs in the world’.
Amid his struggles with Bayern, Gravenberch has not been called up to the senior Netherlands squad for their games against Greece and the Republic of Ireland. Instead, he has been selected to represent Netherlands U21s.
But the 21-year-old has decided he will not travel for the Netherlands U21 matches against Moldova and North Macedonia, instead opting to remain at Liverpool and get to grips with Klopp’s system.
Netherlands U21 boss Michael Reiziger is not happy with the decision, though. During a recent press conference (via Dutch outlet AD), the manager expressed his frustration at Gravenberch’s choice.
Ryan Gravenberch criticised for one decision
“I don’t think it’s a good decision,” he said. “Young boys sometimes make bad choices. I believe it is an honour to represent your country. Players will sometimes also be disappointed that they are not in the big Dutch team.
“I understand that, because you want to achieve the highest possible result, but disappointment is part of football.
“I played five international matches for the Dutch Juniors. I saw that as an honour. It can be a steppingstone to more. If you feel that, you will experience beautiful things. I know this because I have experienced it myself. But I’ve only seen happy faces here.
“I advised him to go to a club where he will play. I also really hope for him that he will play at Liverpool. Of course, it is attractive to be at big clubs, but at this age it is not good if you don’t play for a long time.
“You learn a lot from the good players around you, but you have to experience situations in a match to learn certain things.”
It makes sense that Reiziger is frustrated at not being able to play Gravenberch, as he would go straight into the Netherlands U21 starting lineup. However, Gravenberch’s decision to remain at Liverpool for the next two weeks is also understandable.
This period will allow him to get to know some of his Liverpool team-mates and also find out how Klopp likes to operate. This will in turn give him a much better chance of enjoying a great start to life at Liverpool.
Gravenberch will now be aiming to force his way into the Liverpool starting eleven, which could see him leapfrog Netherlands U21s and re-join his country’s senior team.