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F. de Jong

Mistake snubbing Man Utd? De Jong told he needs to play more by Netherlands coach Van Gaal as World Cup gets closer

14:54 GMT+3 20/09/2022
Frenkie De Jong pre-season Barcelona 2022
Netherlands manager Louis van Gaal has admitted that he would be "happier" if Frenkie de Jong was playing more regularly ahead of the World Cup.
  • De Jong turned down Utd in summer
  • Has featured sporadically for Barca since
  • Van Gaal selects World Cup squad soon

WHAT HAPPENED? Van Gaal fielded questions ahead of his side's UEFA Nations League fixtures this week. During the press conference, he admitted that De Jong's variable playing time for Barcelona this season could be a concern, with the midfielder having chosen to snub a summer move to Manchester United.

WHAT THEY SAID: "It is true that many players called me in the transfer window. But I always ended every conversation with ‘this is my advice, but you make your own decision'. I am happy with the outcome. But I would be happier if Frenkie and Memphis [Depay] would play more than they are now," Van Gaal said.

THE BIGGER PICTURE: Although De Jong has started three of Barca's last four games, he has been named on the bench for half of their 2022-23 fixtures. The midfielder had been a priority target for United in the summer window as a potential reunion with ex-Ajax boss Erik ten Hag was mooted, but he always favoured remaining at Camp Nou.

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WHAT NEXT FOR DE JONG? De Jong will be looking to strengthen his chances of nailing down a starting spot for the World Cup by impressing against Poland on Thursday.