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At 17, Ajax defender Jorrel Hato gets first call-up to Netherlands squad for Euro 2024 qualifiers

AMSTERDAM (AP) — Jorrel Hato, the 17-year-old defender who has been one of the few bright spots in Ajax’s troubled season, received his first call-up to the Netherlands squad on Friday

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.

The Netherlands is second in Group B, trailing a France team with six straight wins, and can qualify for Euro 2024 by beating Ireland at home on Nov. 18 and Gibraltar away three days later.

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.

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.

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AP soccer: apnews.com/hub/soccer

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