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Van Gaal hints at including Barcelona duo in Netherlands World Cup squad despite setbacks

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Barcelona are off to a poor start to the season’s first international break. During the Netherlands’ UEFA Nations League encounter against Poland, the club lost two key players in Memphis Depay and Frenkie de Jong through injuries.

Depay was taken off during half-time after picking up a reported hamstring injury. Frenkie de Jong, too, was taken off during the halfway mark, sparking fears over the potential absence of the two.

Reacting to the injuries in the press conference ahead of the game against Belgium, Dutch head coach Louis van Gaal confirmed Depay’s injury looks the worse of the two, saying: “It’s like hitting below the belt. Memphis needs matches. His injury is the strongest, I think.”

Van Gaal, though, offered some amount of reprieve to the two Barcelona stars, suggesting that both the players have sealed their place in the national team for the upcoming 2022 FIFA World Cup.

When asked about de Jong and Depay’s involvement in the competition, van Gaal added: “Some players have already earned their place. Memphis provided many goals and assists and it is important for Frenkie de Jong to play and be away from the pressure.”

For the time being, both Depay and de Jong have been sent back to Barcelona for treatment as both the club and the nation look to avoid aggravating their respective injuries.

It remains to be seen how soon the two can return to the pitch, especially ahead of a gruelling October schedule that is going to test Barcelona, as far as their overall strength in depth is concerned.

In addition to losing Depay and de Jong, Barcelona have also lost Jules Koundé to an injury. The Frenchman had picked up a muscle injury on the first day of the international break. Ronald Araujo, too, is also out of action for over a month after getting injured while playing for Uruguay.

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