Photo by ANP Sport via Getty Images

Unfortunately for Noa Lang, any praise of his performance on Monday night will be undermined by the subsequent asterisk. 

It was, after all, only Gibraltar. Sitting 197th in the FIFA World Rankings, behind the Caymen Islands, Somalia and Timor-Leste, Lang performed as you would expect Lang to perform against opposition of such limited talent and resources. 

But when even Rafael Van der Vaart is praising you to the hilt, you’ve usually done something right. Van der Vaart, after all, would make Roy Keane look positively happy go lucky, his punditry career littered with brash insults and unfair accusations.

Your Club’s Player Who Newcastle ‘WILL SIGN’

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The fact remains that, on his full debut for the Netherlands national team, Lang looked the part, drifting in from the left-hand side to devastating effect while proving that those Neymar comparisons go beyond a propensity to rub people up the wrong way. 

Is this a turning point for Noa Lang?

For much of Lang’s short career, his reputation as something of a ‘problem child’ often overshadowed his undoubted talent.

He was bombed out of Ajax after falling out with Erik Ten Hag – despite becoming the youngest player to score a hat-trick on his first Eredivisie start in 60 years a few months prior – and missed out on a summer move to Leeds United due to concerns over his work ethic (The Athletic).

As far as raw, unfiltered talent is concerned, however, Lang has few equals in his age group anywhere across the continent. 

“The quality just radiates from him. He reminds me of Robin Van Persie,” beamed Pierre Van Hooijdonk after Lang marked his breakthrough Netherlands appearance with an assist in the 6-0 thrashing of Gibraltar. 

Photo by Stuart MacFarlane/Arsenal FC via Getty Images

Even Van der Vaart could not help himself. 

“With his actions,  he created chances, the type you need against these kinds of opponents,” said the former Tottenham star. 

“He’s pretty much the play-maker from the left. Amazing to watch.” 

Arsenal have been linked and, according to Voetbal24, Lang would welcome relish the opportunity to put pen to paper with the North London giants.  

And if he comes close to matching Van Persie’s impact at the Emirates, that would be £25 million very well spent.

Photo by Sylvain Lefevre/Getty Images

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