The player is seriously thinking about the Moroccan offer and thus needs to be reassured and encouraged in that direction by the Moroccan federation and technical staff
Rabat – The subject of a tense contest between Moroccan and Dutch football federations for the past months, PSV Eindhoven attacking midfielder Mohammed Ihattaren has decided to take some time to think seriously about his options.
The young talent has said he wants to take the necessary time to think deeply about his international career before taking a firm decision about joining either of his two countries’ teams.
Earlier this month, both the Moroccan national team and the Dutch U21 squad called up the 17-year-old for upcoming matches in September.
While Ihattaren has admitted to feeling “happy and much honored” by the visible, keen interest from the two countries, the young player has insisted he needs time to make a mature, well-considered, decision about which country he wants to represent as an international.
According to reports, Ihattaren has not yet responded to Morocco’s interest in him, but he has reportedly told the staff of the Dutch U21 team to dispense with his services for now. He said he needed time “to reflect on my future as an international.”
The decision is a reminder of the singular difficulty of choosing between two counties a player equally cherishes. The final call in such instances is even more difficult at Ihattaren’s age, 17, when most players tend to focus on personal growth at club level.
But Ihattaren has already established himself as one of the most promising players of the Dutch league and such precocious talents come with a set of precocious demands and responsibilities.
Earlier this week, the head coach of the Dutch national team, in an attempt to exert some pressure on Ihattaren in his final decision, asserted that the PSV Eindhoven prodigy “will have to make up his mind sooner rather than later.”
Meanwhile, it is understood that Morocco plans to use a much gentler, less pushy card to convince the young player that choosing the Atlas Lions is in his best interests.
The basis for such an idea, some have hastened to argue, is that Ihattaren’s move to momentarily put himself out of contention for a spot in the Dutch junior football team is an encouraging message for Morocco.
The move means, the argument goes, that the player is seriously thinking about the Moroccan offer and thus needs to be reassured and encouraged in that direction by the Moroccan federation and technical staff.