Netherlands coach names 2 new defenders in squad

THE HAGUE: Netherlands coach Danny Blind has named two new defenders in his squad for a World Cup qualifier against Bulgaria and a friendly against Italy.

Blind picked 17-year-old Ajax center back Matthijs de Ligt and Lazio defender Wesley Hoedt for his 25-man squad, looking to plug gaps left by a string of injuries to regulars such as Virgil van Dijk and Jeffrey Bruma.

De Ligt, who only made his Ajax debut in November, would be one of the youngest ever debutants for the Netherlands.

The Dutch take on Bulgaria in Sofia on March 25 and return to Amsterdam to play Italy three days later. The Netherlands is in second place in Group A behind France.