We will not see Miles Bukkens again at the World Cup under 21 years. The top scorer of the previous global youth tournament is struggling with a meniscus injury and is therefore the biggest absentee in the selection of national coach Jesse Mahieu, who still has to make a decision about his goalkeepers.
“I already sensed that it would be a difficult story with Miles,” says Mahieu about the striker, whom he also coaches at Pinoké. Bukkens suffered his injury in the summer and has not played a single minute in the big league this season. ‘He has to walk on crutches for another week. It has not been possible to accelerate his rehabilitation process. That wouldn’t have been wise either. Because of this, Miles hasn’t touched a ball yet.’
“Of course I would have really liked to have him there,” sighs Mahieu, who has appointed sixteen field players and four reserves. ‘He is a special player. One who is a fanatic with a smile on his face. He stirs things up and is difficult for defenders to read with his technical skills. But we ran out of time to wait for his recovery. It sounds harsh, but the rest of the group also needs clarity.’
Clarity had already been provided for HDM player Alex Weterings, who is also not fit enough to qualify for a selection spot. Finn van Bijnen (Kampong) and fourth goalkeeper Jeroen Kerkmeer (Little Switzerland) are the other players who were left out of the tournament, which will be held from December 5 to 16 in the Malaysian capital Kuala Lumpur.
Telgenkamp, three goalkeepers still in the race
As expected, a place has been reserved for Duco Telgenkamp in Mahieu’s team. The 21-year-old top scorer of the ‘big’ European Championships joined his contemporaries after his fantastic summer. ‘Exactly as we agreed with the staff of the Orange Men. Because those guys won the European Championship, they don’t have to play an Olympic qualifying tournament. As a result, all signals were green for Duco to participate with us.’
Mahieu enjoys the growth of the striker, who was also there in 2021 when the Dutch Juniors won the European Championship. ‘You notice that he has become more professional. It now says at all times. Even if, for example, he has to follow his man. A year ago things were sometimes different.’
A goalkeeper still has to be dropped from the Dutch Juniors selection. Mahieu continues the preparation for Kuala Lumpur with Nieki Verbeek, Allard André de la Porte and Daan Taphoorn. ‘It was too early to choose between them now. I want to get a better picture of those guys in the coming weeks. All three of them play little at their clubs, because they are second choice there. They are not much inferior to each other, so it will be difficult to make a decision. I want to make the decision in two weeks’ time.’
The reserves and remaining program in our own country
Mahieu takes Joppe Wolbert (Den Bosch) and Jacky van Hout (Orange-Red) as reserves to Asia. Last summer, like Jan van ‘t Land, they played the European Under-18 European Championships in Krefeld. Pepijn Leenhouts and Danilo Trieling have been designated as ‘reserve of the reserves’.
Towards the World Cup, the Dutch Juniors have a practice match on Dutch soil. On November 14 they will practice against France in Breda. In between, the team trains at Papendal and Upward, after which the selection travels to Malaysia on the 28th. ‘Because the Premier League and the Gold Cup are still in full swing, everyone has a lot of matches ahead of them. Now the main thing is to hope that all the boys stay fit.’
|Selection of the Dutch Juniors for the World Cup|
|Allard André de la Porte*||Bloemendaal|
|Most Curvaceous||the Bosch|
|Timo Boers||the Bosch|
|Pepijn van der Heijden||Rotterdam|
|Gijs ter Braak||Bloemendaal|
|Casper van der Veen||Bloemendaal|
|Jan van ‘t Land||HGC|
|Joppe Wolbert||the Bosch|
|Jackie van Hout||Orange-Red|
*A choice still has to be made regarding the goalkeepers