Louis van Gaal has named a preliminary World Cup squad consisting of 39 players, meaning 13 of them won’t make the final cut.
Who those 13 will be of course depends on if any of those in the pre-selection pick up injuries between now and when the final squad is announced on November 11.
However, if everyone stays fit, Van Gaal’s previous selections and comments give us a good idea of which players won’t be on the plane to Qatar.
So, let’s go through it position by position…
Van Gaal has previously stated that, if allowed, he will take four goalkeepers to the World Cup, meaning only one of Jasper Cillessen, Remko Pasveer, Mark Flekken, Justin Bijlow and Andries Noppert will miss out.
Of those options, Noppert is the only one who has never played for the Netherlands and has the least experience of top-level football.
He could be chosen as the team’s penalty specialist, taking the spot of Bijlow, if he impressed in the tests that took place, but given we don’t know the results of those tests, I’ll have to go with the Heerenveen man.
Predicted drop-out: Andries Noppert
Stefan de Vrij, Matthijs de Ligt, Virgil van Dijk, Nathan Ake and Jurrien Timber are all guaranteed to go to the World Cup if fit with the latter three starting.
The big question is whether Van Gaal will take a sixth option – serving as the backup to Nathan Ake – in place of the injured Bruno Martins-Indi, with Sven Botman, Pascal Struijk and Micky van de Ven the candidates.
Of them, Botman is the most likely to make the final cut given how good he’s been for Newcastle, but with Tyrel Malacia being tried at left centre-back in the last international break and De Ligt always able to play there, I’d say it’s more likely that only five centre-backs will be taken to keep spots free further forward.
Predicted drop-outs: Sven Botman, Pascal Struijk, Micky van de Ven
There aren’t any question marks on the left, with Daley Blind and Malacia assured of places; Mitchell Bakker will only come in if one of them gets injured.
On the right though, there have been calls for Jeremie Frimpong to replace Devyne Rensch, with the Bayer Leverkusen player impressing enormously in Germany.
If he and Rensch both maintain their current form, I think Frimpong will get the nod.
Predicted drop-outs: Devyne Rensch, Mitchell Bakker
Frenkie de Jong, Teun Koopmeiners and Steven Berghuis are the midfielders guaranteed to be a part of the final squad, but beyond that, things are far from certain.
Marten de Roon is likely to go given he offers a different, more defensive option that could come in handy, and Davy Klaassen has often been an important player for Van Gaal, so he’ll surely stay in too.
Ryan Gravenberch has dropped down the pecking order due to his lack of playing time at Bayern Munich so looks set to miss out along with Jordy Clasie and Guus Til with Kenneth Taylor getting the nod instead.
That leaves the manager with the choice of including Xavi Simons or an extra striker, and I’m going to go ahead and say he’ll pick Simons. The PSV man offers versaility, able to play in midfield, out wide or up front, and is the perfect player to bring off the bench.
Predicted drop-outs: Ryan Gravenberch, Jordy Clasie, Guus Til
So, this leaves us having to get rid of four of the 10 forwards in the squad, and we can immediately rule out Memphis Depay, Steven Bergwijn and Cody Gakpo being dropped.
Wout Weghorst is likely to get the nod over Luuk de Jong as the side’s target man to be used in emergencies, while Vincent Janssen will probably get picked ahead of Brian Brobbey.
Arnaut Danjuma, Noa Lang and Donyell Malen all missed the last squad through due to fitness issues, and we think the former will go to the World Cup given he’s enjoyed the best form out of the three since their respective returns from injury.
Predicted drop-outs: Luuk de Jong, Brian Brobbey, Noa Lang, Donyell Malen