For a long time, the Netherlands national team has been viewed as a sleeping giant in the footballing world, with several generations of teams entering and leaving the international scene without silverware. Since their UEFA European Championship win in 1988, their trophy cabinet has been in need of a new addition.
Now, with players like Virgil van Dijk, Frenkie de Jong, Georginio Wijnaldum, and Memphis Depay, this current crop of players seems to be just a few new talents away from going on to become a real force in world football again.
In this article, all of Football Manager 21’s Dutch youth prospects are listed, with the top-five wonderkids taking the spotlight. Will you unearth the next superstar for Oranje?
Choosing the best Dutch wonderkids of FM 21
In order to be classified among the best Dutch wonderkids in Football Manager 2021, the players had to meet or exceed three standards. They had to be, at the most, 21 years of age at the start of the game and have the Netherlands as the nation that they will represent at an international level. Most importantly, they have to possess one of the best potential ability (PA) ratings of all of the young Dutch players in FM 21.
The minimum potential ability you will find here is 130 PA or -8 PA, which is the most pivotal element when evaluating these Dutch wonderkids.
Negative potential ability reflects a PA range which the player in question has; this PA is randomised at the start of every new game, and will therefore differ between saves. These potential ability ranges come in different forms: -10 (170-200), -95 (160-190), -9 (150-180), -85 (140-170), and -8 (130-160). Keeping this in mind, the players with a -PA have been ranked by their lowest possible potential ability.
In order for any player to reach their potential, you’ll need to give them game time, good training routines, and the right development plan.
Below, you’ll find the all of best young players from the Netherlands in FM 21, with the best of the best Dutch wonderkids featured prior to the full table.
Matthijs de Ligt (163 CA / 185 PA)
Best Position: DC
Current Ability/Potential Ability: 163 CA / 185 PA
Value: £38.5 million
Best Attributes: 18 Strength, 17 Heading, 17 Bravery
It isn’t a surprise that the European Golden Boy of 2018 comes in at number-one on this list. After his £77 million move from Ajax, he has become a star player with the Old Lady and is one of the first names on the team sheet. De Ligt has already made an impact for the national team, too. Earning himself 23 senior caps, scoring twice.
Despite being only 20-years-old, De Light is already a decorated individual, winning the double in the 2018/19 season with Eredivisie and Dutch Cup medals in his collection. Following his move to Turin, he added a Serie A winners’ medal to his accolades in the 2019/20 season. Making 32 appearances and scoring four goals, he is evidently a special talent, and with his partnership alongside Virgil van Dijk, the Netherlands arguably have the most formidable centre back pairing in international football.
The ball-playing defender is already prepared to play football at the highest level, which his Football Manager 21 stats refle. With 18 strength, 17 heading, 17 bravery, 16 tackling, and 16 determination, De Ligt would be a statement signing for any team in the game, and with a 185 PA, he’ll go on to be one of the legends of the game.
Being as talented as he is, De Ligt will not be a cheap signing. With the added fact that he is injured for between three to four months at the start of the game, it is unlikely that this Dutch wonderkid will be available in the first transfer window. However, if you do manage to get an offer accepted, De Ligt will have wage demands of a whopping £450,000 per week.
Donyell Malen (140 CA / 165 PA)
Team: PSV Eindhoven
Best Position: ST, AML
Current Ability/Potential Ability: 140 CA / 165 PA
Value: £11 million
Wages: £11,000 p/w
Best Attributes: 16 Acceleration, 16 Agility, 16 Pace
Purchased from Arsenal in 2017, Donyell Malen has made quite the impression at the Philips Stadion. Making 18 appearances, scoring 12 goals, and assisting three goals, it’s clear to see why the young Dutchman is so highly-rated by the Lampen.
Winning the Eredivisie in the 2017/18 season, Malen played four games in PSV’s 24th top division victory, being just 19 years and 15 days old when he made his debut for the prestigious Dutch outfit. The young forward has taken his game to another level this season, making 19 appearances, scoring 13 goals, and assisting his teammates three times.
Being just 21-years-old, Malen is still a raw talent with his best years in front of him, as shown by his FM 21 potential ability of 165. That said, with 16 acceleration, 16 agility, 16 pace, and 14 finishing he is a defender’s worst nightmare already. The Dutch wonderkids can be utilised as a striker or an inside forward, with his 14 finishing and 14 composure ratings only increasing with the right development plan.
Malen will ask for £39,500 per week for his services, but PSV are reluctant to part ways with their very highly-rated forward. So, you will have to put up a large transfer sum to get this top prospect over the line.
Justin Kluivert (141 CA / 164 PA)
Team: AS Roma (on-loan to Red Bull Leipzig)
Best Position: AML
Current Ability/Potential Ability: 141 CA / 164 PA
Value: £10.5 million
Wages: £58,520 p/w
Best Attributes: 18 Acceleration, 17 Agility, 17 Flair
Currently playing his football on-loan to Red Bull Leipzig, Justin Kluivert has gone from strength-to-strength since his debut for Ajax in 2017.
After making 14 appearances in his inaugural season, and 30 in the season afterwards, AS Roma may have been surprised that their £15.53 million landed the Zaandam-born forward. Since joining up with Julian Nagelsmann at the Red Bull Arena, the son of the legendary Patrick Kluivert has made 12 appearances, scoring twice.
This rapid winger likes to try tricks whilst out on the wings and will repeatedly beat his man if the opportunity arises in FM 21. With 18 acceleration, 17 agility, 17 flair, 16 pace, 16 dribbling, and a 164 PA, the sky is the limit as far as Kluivert’s future is concerned. The wonderkid also has 16 first touch and 16 technique, meaning that he is very capable of being relied upon to create and finish attacking moves.
Kluivert starts the game on-loan, so it’s impossible to acquire his signature in the opening season. Thereafter, he will likely want wages of £52,000 per week, and you will have to persuade AS Roma that a sum of around £40 million will suffice for this Dutch wonderkid.
Calvin Stengs (132 CA / 152 PA)
Team: AZ Alkmaar
Best Position: AMR
Current Ability/Potential Ability: 132 CA / 152 PA
Value: £5.5 million
Wages: £5,250 p/w
Best Attributes: 17 Flair, 16 Technique, 15 Pace
The first of two AZ Alkmaar players on this list of FM 21 Dutch wonderkids, Calvin Stengs has impressed since his debut in 2016, with FC Barcelona apparently interested in taking the rapid winger to Camp Nou. Manager Ronald Koeman may well be the driving force behind this interest as he was the one to hand Stengs his first senior international cap for the Netherlands in 2019.
Making over 90 appearances for the two-time Dutch champions, Stengs has managed to hit the back of the net on 19 occasions and has 19 assists to his name. The fans at the AFAS Stadion understandably have a great affinity for this Dutch wonderkid. His eye-catching, pacy dribbling and tricky play style is something which every team craves.
Possessing 17 flair, 16 technique, and 15 pace, Stengs is a real handful for defenders in FM 21. When you add in his 15 first touch, 15 passing, and 15 vision, the Amsterdam-native has the ability to be a real creative output in your team. Stengs’ 152 PA indicates that he has the potential to become a real star in any of the top divisions if given the right development.
The youngster will want wages of £20,500 per week when you attempt to lure him to your side, but it will likely cost you upwards of £50 million to secure his signature. Whilst this may seem like a lot to spend, it’ll prove to be a relatively quaint investment if you can get Stengs to reach his ceilling.
Myron Boadu (139 CA / 150-180 PA)
Team: AZ Alkmaar
Best Position: ST
Current Ability/Potential Ability: 139 CA / -9 (150-180) PA
Value: £9.75 million
Wages: £9,250 p/w
Best Attributes: 17 Acceleration, 16 Pace, 14 Agility
A young and pacy centre forward, Myron Boadu made his debut at the ripe age of 17-years-old for his boyhood team AZ Alkmaar. Since his debut, he has gone on to make 41 appearances, scoring 20 goals and ten assists in the Eredivisie.
The striker born in Amsterdam was knocking on the door to the senior national team after scoring six goals in six appearances at the under-21 level. With this form, Ronald Koeman decided to give the young Boadu his opportunity in 2019 – which he tookwith both hands. On his Netherlands debut, despite only playing for 45 minutes, Boadu opened his scoring account with three minutes left to play.
Myron Boadu is the first and only featured player on this list to possess a negative PA. With a rating of -9, his potential ability could land anywhere between 150 and 180, depending on your save. With 17 acceleration, 16 pace, 14 agility, and 14 balance, this Dutch wonderkid likes to knock the ball past his opponent before breaking forward into the opposition’s area.
Boadu will ask you for a wage of around £33,000 per week if you’re able to convince AZ Alkmaar to allow one of their prized possessions to leave. To achieve this, you’ll likely need to pay upwards of £60 million in the first season. Although the fee seems steep, given the potential peak of his PA, this figure will only increase as time goes on in your save.
All the best Dutch wonderkids in FM 21
Below is the table listing all of FM 21’s best Dutch wonderkids, sorted by their potential ability. The ones given a negative potential ability rating are arranged in the table according to their lowest possible PA.
|Name||Age||Team||CA||PA (Range)||Pos.||Wages p/w|
|Matthijs de Ligt||20||Juventus (Zebre)||163||185||DC||£213,696|
|Donyell Malen||21||PSV Eindhoven||140||165||ST||£11,000|
|Justin Kluivert||21||AS Roma (on-loan to RB Leipzig)||141||164||AML||£58,520|
|Calvin Stengs||21||AZ Alkmaar||132||152||AMR||£5,250|
|Myron Boadu||19||AZ Alkmaar||137||-9 (150-180)||AML , ST||£9,250|
|Mohamed Ihattaren||18||PSV Eindhoven||130||-9 (150-180)||AMC||£5,250|
|Ryan Gravenberch||18||AFC Ajax||124||-9 (150-180)||MC||£4,700|
|Joshua Zirkzee||19||Bayern Munich||124||-9 (150-180)||ST||£14,010|
|Naci Ünüvar||17||AFC Ajax||97||-9 (150-180)||AMC, AML||£950|
|Bobby Adekanye||21||SS Lazio (on-loan to Cadiz)||123||147||AML||£13,355|
|Jeremie Frimpong||19||Celtic||128||145||DR, WBR||£8,000|
|Joey Veerman||21||SC Heerenveen||128||145||MC||£3,505|
|Rick van Drongelen||21||Hamburger SV||125||145||DC||£10,515|
|Pascal Struijk||20||Leeds United||116||145||DC||£10,000|
|Owen Wijndal||20||AZ Alkmaar||130||-85 (140-170)||DL||£3,800|
|Kenneth Taylor||18||AFC Ajax||109||-85 (140-170)||MC||£1,400|
|Devyne Rensch||17||AFC Ajax||107||-85 (140-170)||DC||£1,100|
|Ki-Jana Hoever||18||Wolverhampton Wanderers||98||-85 (140-170)||WBR||£12,00|
|Ernest Poku||16||AZ Alkmaar||93||-85 (140-170)||AML||£90|
|Fabian de Keijzer||20||FC Utrecht||100||135||GK||£625|
|Cody Gakpo||21||PSV Eindhoven||131||-8 (130-160)||AML||£4,900|
|Tahith Chong||20||Manchester United (on-loan to Werder Bremen)||126||-8 (130-160||AMR||£48,000|
|Perr Schuurs||20||AFC Ajax||122||-8 (130-160||DC||£4,569|
|Tommy St. Jago||20||FC Utrecht||121||-8 (130-160||DC||£1,700|
|Jayden Braaf||17||Manchester City||120||-8 (130-160||AML||£7,500|
Using the list above, you can recruit the best young Dutch players of FM 21 for your club.