Opinion: De Roon on course to be Boro's next Boateng following Dutch call-up

Marten de Roon has, this week, been called up to Holland's national squad. This came after his injury time header earned Middlesbrough a point at Manchester City.

Opinion: De Roon on course to be Boro's next Boateng following Dutch call-up
Marten de Roon wheels away after his injury time header on Saturday | Photo: GettyImages/Rich Linley

When he arrived on Teesside, Marten de Roon was - for the most part - an unknown entity.

The Dutchman cost Middlesbrough £12 million from Italian club Atalanta, so it was obvious that Boro boss Aitor Karanka thought highly of him.

An unfortunate injury just 20 minutes into his debut for the club against Stoke City upset his start in the North East, but since then de Roon has found his feet in the centre of the park.

De Roon recieves his first international call up.

The recent performances of de Roon have warranted a place in Netherlands manager Danny Blind's 23-man squad ahead of World Cup qualifier against Luxembourg.

News of the call up comes a day after Blind spoke of his decision to overlook de Roon when annoucing his squad who played against Belgium on Wednesday evening, with the ex-Ajax coach saying that de Roon is on his radar, but that he is 'too flat and too reserved' in possession.

Injuries to Spurs' Vincent Janssen, however, along with former Sunderland winger Jermaine Lens and de Roon's competitor Stijn Schaars have lead to call-ups for Boro's midfielder along with Swansea's Leroy Fer.

National team praise draws parralels to former Boro midfielders.

When the 25-year-old arrived from Italy, there were similarities drawn to former Middlesbrough players who were also Dutch, including the likes of Bolo Zenden and George Boateng who both played for Boro in arguably the club's most successful period ever.

Steve McClaren's side, which included Zenden and Boateng, won the then Carling Cup and reached the UEFA Cup final in 2004 and 2006 respectively.

When de Roon signed for Middlesbrough, he was likened to George Boateng by Dutch journalist Martijn Krabbendam.

Krabbendam told local paper 'The Gazette' about how highly the Italian media thought of 'The Wavebreaker' and how 'you can compare him with George Boateng.' While Boateng only recieved four caps for Holland, all of which came during his time at the Riverside, he was still admired at Middlesbrough for being a battler and being tough in the tackle.

Boro suffered after losing his bite in midfield and even with his replacement Lee Cattermole, they began to slide down the table.

De Roon will be hoping to become as critical as Boateng for Middlesbrough.

There is fierce competition for places, however, and the former SC Heerenveen midfielder will have to cement his place in Boro's side to become a regular in the Netherlands squad. Aitor Karanka clearly believes that he has the potential to be better than Boro's current options in central midfield, or  he wouldn't have spent a fee which just fell short of the club's record for Afonso Alves in 2008.

Whether he will be as successful as fellow Dutchmen Boateng and Zenden remains to be seen, but goals like the one at the Etihad will only help his cause.