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Dest leaves Ajax's Qatar camp 'uncomfortable' amid U.S. tensions with Iran

Sergino Dest has flown home from Ajax's midseason training camp in Qatar, as he said he does not feel comfortable in the region amid political tensions between the U.S. and Iran.

Dest declared for the USMNT in October after turning down approaches from the Netherlands. He was part of Ajax's warm-weather camp in Doha.

After the death of General Qasem Soleimani in a U.S. military air strike and Iran's retaliation on a U.S. military base in Iraq, Dest requested to fly back to the Netherlands.

"Sergino Dest asked if he could leave the training camp of Ajax in Qatar," a statement from Ajax read. "He did not feel comfortable. Ajax understands his request and has responded to it."

Sergino Dest, Ajax
Sergino Dest has left Ajax's training camp.

Dest will now train with Ajax's reserves until the first team arrive back on Sunday. His decision comes five days after the USMNT opted to postpone their January training camp in Qatar because of the "developing situation in the region."

Ajax manager Erik ten Hag told Ajax TV: "Sergino felt uncomfortable since a few days and so we are talking about the well-being of a player. That's why we gave him permission to fly home."

Ten Hag told FOX Sports on Friday that the decision to send Dest home wasn't taken without careful consideration.

"We didn't rush this decision. If this feeling would've been there for just one day, then we wouldn't give in to it straight away," he said. "But when the feeling builds during a couple of days the well-being of the player is most important. He did not feel good here and that has everything to do with the current situation in the world and then I have to give permission to leave."

Ajax flew to Qatar on Saturday, but sources close to the club told ESPN they opted for a private plane rather than a commercial flight due to the increasing political tension in the Middle East. The private jet enabled them to fly over Egypt and Saudi Arabia rather than over Iran and Iraq.

Eredivisie rivals PSV are also in Qatar after opting for a commercial flight, but they are seeking alternatives to fly back to the Netherlands, as the airspace above Iran and Iraq has not yet been deemed fully safe.

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