Goal takes a look at the latest batch of promising youngsters ready to set the Dutch top flight alight in the 2014-15 campaign
The Eredivisie might not be among European football's elite leagues, but there’s no denying that the Dutch top flight still produces plenty of quality players.
High-profile names such as Arjen Robben, Robin van Persie, Luis Suarez and Zlatan Ibrahimovic all rose to prominence in the Netherlands and this summer’s World Cup once more showed that the Dutch top flight remains a league well worth watching.
The Oranje squad that made it to the semi-finals relied heavily on Bayern Munich star Robben, but also had a big Eredivisie presence with players such as Stefan de Vrij, Bruno Martins Indi, Daley Blind and Memphis Depay all making a huge impact in Brazil.
With the new season set to kick off at the weekend, a number of youngsters will be desperate to follow in the footsteps of these graduates and make a name for themselves.
Last season already saw hot prospects like Joel Veltman, Davy Klaassen, Terence Kongolo, Hakim Ziyech, Bilal Basacikoglu, Richairo Zivkovic, Yassin Ayoub, Quincy Promes, Kyle Ebecilio and Jurgen Locadia star, but who could be the breakthrough stars of the new season? Goal takes a look at some of the Eredivisie's most exciting youngsters under the age of 21.
|Ricardo Kishna - Ajax
The former ADO Den Haag youngster made his official Eredivisie debut in Ajax’s 4-0 home win over AZ last season and he capped off a fine performance with a well-taken goal. Ricardo Kishna eventually went on to make eight league appearances in 2013-14 and this could be the year of his definite breakthrough.
The pacy attacker, 19, is likely to be awarded a starting berth on the left wing with Viktor Fischer out until the winter break due to injury and he will be desperate to impress head coach Frank de Boer.
One thing's for sure, Kishna has what it takes to cause any opponent difficulties with his close control, mazy dribbling, speed and powerful shot.
|Sven van Beek - Feyenoord
Feyenoord might have lost three key players in defence this summer - with Martins Indi, De Vrij and Daryl Janmaat all moving to pastures new - but Sven Van Beek is ready to step up and lead the Rotterdam giants to success again.
Van Beek already made his debut last season and is expected to form a centre-back pairing with either Terence Kongolo or Joris Mathijsen in 2014-15.
The 20-year-old is a no-nonsense defender who is also quite strong on the ball and has been likened to both Netherlands international Ron Vlaar and former team-mate De Vrij.
|Jorrit Hendrix - PSV
The 19-year-old already got plenty of playing time last term as his versatility made him a good option for head coach Phillip Cocu both in defence and in midfield, and Jorrit Hendrix will be looking to make the final step up in 2014-15.
The left-footed defender could partner Jeffrey Bruma in defence if PSV fail to sign Karim Rekik on loan for an additional year, while he is also more than capable of replacing the injured Stijn Schaars in midfield in the first half of the season.
Hendrix might not be the biggest defender around, but he has already shown that he's no pushover in the personal duels, while his ability to build up play from the back gives him the edge over young team-mate Menno Koch.
|Bilal Ould-Chikh - Twente
Bilal Ould-Chikh might only be 17-years-old, but the tricky winger has already made his first-team debut for Twente. The winger featured for 20 minutes in last season's 2-2 draw with PEC Zwolle.
With both Dusan Tadic and Quincy Promes on their way out, the latter is expected to join Spartak Moscow shortly, this is the year for Ould-Chikh to prove that he's worth the hype and break into the first team for good.
The youngster impressed at the Under-17 European Championships this summer after previously shining for the club's youth team and if his performances last campaign are anything to go by, Twente have little reason to be worried about the loss of Tadic and Promes.
|Thom Haye - AZ
The energetic midfielder first caught the eye of observers worldwide when he was part of the Netherlands Under-17 team that was crowned European champions in 2011 and also included players like Depay, Tonny Vilhena, Jetro Willems and Terence Kongolo.
Thom Haye took a bit more time than some of his peers to step up and make his Eredivisie debut, but the versatile midfielder has reasons to be optimistic about his future at AZ following the appointment of Marco van Basten as the club's new coach.
The 19-year-old seems to feel most comfortable in a position as box-to-box midfielder, but has also featured on the wings and Van Basten is a keen admirer of the youngster.
|Daley Sinkgraven - Heerenveen
Daley Sinkgraven had to settle for just five starting berths in the Eredivisie last term, but the creative attacking midfielder - who can also feature out wide - did more than enough to show Eredivisie followers that he's a special talent.
The 19-year-old has a fine individual armoury, superb vision and also possesses the passing skills to execute what his footballing brain tells him to do.
With Basacikoglu and Rajiv Van La Parra having left the Abe Lenstra Stadium, Sinkgraven is likely to get much more playing time in the new season and the gifted youngster could very well develop into one of Heerenveen's key figures alongside Ziyech.