Netherlands coach Ronald Koeman included Hato in a 25-player squad for the team’s decisive European Championship qualifying games against Ireland and Gibraltar. Defenders Matthijs de Ligt of Bayern Munich and Micky van de Ven of Tottenham are both out injured.
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Ajax is starting to recover from its worst start to a season in Dutch league history, with Hato having completed each game so far.
Hato made his Eredivisie debut in February at the age of 16, with only Ryan Gravenberch and Clarence Seedorf having been younger when first playing in the league for Ajax.
His consistent presence in Ajax’s lineup during a challenging season reflects his maturity and potential as a top-tier defender. If Hato makes his national team debut, he would surpass the age at which De Ligt made his first appearance for the Oranje, marking another milestone in his burgeoning career.
Jorrel Hato on extending his contract :“That’s something you should discuss with my agents. I think I see my future here at the moment. I’m just happy here. I don’t take care of my contract; I leave that up to my agents. I’m simply focusing on playing football at the moment.” pic.twitter.com/5J2QYHUX6t
— weTalk Ajax (@wetalkajax) November 3, 2023
The significance of Hato’s selection extends beyond his individual achievement, reflecting the Netherlands’ commitment to nurturing young talent and integrating them into the national setup. The inclusion of promising prospects like Hato aligns with the team’s long-term vision and signals a strategic approach to succession planning and talent development.
If Hato makes his national-team debut this month, he would be several weeks older than De Ligt was in 2017 when the then-Ajax defender played his first game for the Oranje at 17 years, 7 months.