It has shockingly been three years since Jetro Willems played a part internationally for the Netherlands. The left-back famously became the youngest player to play in the European Championships when he started against Denmark in June of 2012. He had just turned 18 a few months earlier.
Over the next four years, Willems made 22 appearances for the Dutch national team. However, due to some serious knee injuries and a slip in form when he moved to Frankfurt in 2017, it’s been silent on the international front for the 25-year-old. His last appearance was a 6-minute cameo against France in a World Cup qualifier in October of 2016.
When Jetro first came to Newcastle, he mentioned his desire to get called up for the Netherlands again. It played a significant role in his decision to come to Newcastle, where he would get first-team football in the World’s most prestigious league. Most importantly, he has been deployed in his preferred position of left-back.
This is how Jetro responded when asked if he wanted to play at left-back for Newcastle during his first interview:
“Yes, if I want to reach my goals and want to play for the national team again.
“In my former club, I played in the midfield. In the national team in the midfield, it’s quite busy. They have good players playing there.
“So on the left side, it’s also my strength. So if I want to reach my goals, I want to play there.”
So far, so good for Jetro. He’s made 8 starts on the left for Newcastle, and he is showing what a talent he is. We have to believe that he is knocking on Netherlands manager Ronald Koeman’s door for a call-up. He’s been just so impressive for Newcastle over the past few months.
Jetro’s path internationally is currently blocked by Ajax’s Daley Blind. The former Manchester United player has started all of the Netherlands’ Euro qualifiers at left-back. That is despite Blind playing as a center-back or defensive midfielder for Ajax.
Crystal Palace’s Patrick van Aanholt is also ahead of Willems in his nation’s pecking order. The former-Magpie is again in the squad for this week’s qualifiers, but the 29-year-old has not had a cap in over a year.
If Jetro can keep putting in the performances like he did on Saturday for Newcastle, maybe he can get back into the Euros a full eight years after he became the youngest player in that competition.
The Netherlands currently top Group C in qualification. They play Northern Ireland on Saturday and then Estonia next Tuesday. It would be quite a treat this summer to watch Jetro play in the Euros, especially if he signs for Newcastle permanently.