Liverpool midfielder Ryan Gravenberch may now be stepping towards the end of his short international exile, having been excluded from successive Netherlands squads since he moved to Anfield.
Gravenberch struggled to get play time at Bayern Munich last season after a big money move from Ajax. He completed a £34.5m switch to Liverpool on summer transfer deadline day.
But in preferring to focus on settling at his new club, Gravenberch declined to be called up for Netherlands Under-21 duty a few days later.
That riled Under-21 manager Michael Reiziger and senior boss Ronald Koeman, leading Gravenberch to be overlooked ever since.
The 21-year-old has gradually proven just why he was rated as one of Europe’s most promising midfield talents during his Ajax days. He has been arguably Liverpool’s best player in the Europa League this season, notably missing the recent defeat to Toulouse with injury.
Since coming on at half-time in the Merseyside derby, Gravenberch had also started three consecutive Premier League games prior to a knee problem ruling him out of the weekend’s win over Brentford.
“We’re not happy about that,” Koeman had said of Gravenberch’s refusal.
Reiziger also weighed in at the time:
“For a national team, for your country, you have to play with your heart. Not with your head. So you really have to want to be there.
“That is just important to me. He has made his decision to stay in Liverpool to acclimatise. I know Ryan, he is a good and likeable boy, but he made the wrong choice.”
But now in the last international break of 2023, Gravenberch can perhaps look forward to wearing the famous orange shirt again next year as those issues appear to be in the past.
“There were some disagreements, but that has now been resolved. Ryan is not there yet, but if he just continues as he is doing, it will happen naturally,” older brother Danzell told Dutch website Soccer News.
“He just has to do his thing and hope he gets back into the picture.”
Earlier this month, Reiziger also seemed to confirm the hatchet has been buried:
“This is no longer a punishment or anything. Not at all. That is already behind us.”