Ryan Babel makes Netherlands squad after six-year absence

Former Liverpool attacker Ryan Babel has been named in Dick Advocaat’s Netherlands squad for the upcoming World Cup qualifiers against Belarus and Sweden.

The 30-year-old makes his comeback to the national side after a six-year hiatus, where he has played across Europe.

Babel, who made 91 appearances for the Reds between 2007 and 2011, has hit form with Besiktas this term with goals in the Champions League games against RB Leipzig and Porto. On top, he has also managed three goals in the Turkish Super Lig, and that form has made it hard for Advocaat to ignore him for selection.

Netherlands are currently in a precarious position of missing out on the World Cup qualifiers, and Babel will hope to contribute in must-win games against Belarus and Sweden. The Flying Dutchmen are currently in a straight fight with Sweden for the playoff spot in second place, and they will have to beat them by a significant margin in order to overcome the goal difference.

Babel has become a favourite among the Besiktas faithful over the past year, and he has recently admitted that the club’s supporters are similar to those at Anfield, he said: “I find Besiktas and Liverpool fans very similar. They are not bandwagon fans, they are there on the good days and the bad. They do not go missing when times are tough. The Besiktas fans are fantastic, they get us to perform at least 20 percent better, the strength they give us is unbelievable.”

The Netherlands failed to qualify for the European Championships back in 2016, but Advocaat admits that the nation must have a clear plan to win as they head into the final set of fixtures, he said: “We must first plainly go there to win and then see what is possible during the match. You can’t start international matches these days with a goal target in your head.”

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