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Holland recall Van Nistelrooy for qualifiers

Mercurial Dutch striker Ruud van Nistelrooy has been called up to the national squad after a gap of two years as the 2010 World Cup finalists begin their qualifying campaign for EURO 2012 against San Marino on September 3 and Finland four days later. The thirty four year old Hamburg striker had decided to quit international football after Holland’s quarter-final loss to Guus Hiddink’s Russia in EURO 2008 but reversed his decision last year and Van Nistelrooy’s fine form for Hamburg in pre-season and certainly at the start of the Bundesliga season has prompted coach Bert van Marwijk to include the former Manchester United and Real Madrid star to replace the injured Arsenal striker Robin van Persie.

Although Van Nistelrooy was overlooked during the Netherlands’ World Cup safari in South Africa, Bert van Marwijk has admitted that the striker’s form for Hamburg this season was hard to overlook. Ruud van Nistelrooy has scored three goals in the first two league matches of the season for Hamburg and has looked sharp throughout the pre-season and ofcourse the end of last season for the northern German club.

“Ruud looked fresh and sharp and that has all to do that he played the end of the season then had holiday and completed the whole pre-season build-up,” Van Marwijk said.

“But this was one match and we also have to consider his age as he will be 36 over two years, but when he plays like this we can’t ignore him.”

With 33 goals in 64 international matches, Ruud van Nistelrooy is still the man to chase for any team and rest assured Bert Van Marwijk’s decision to recall the veteran would be rewarded even if the striker does not have the legs to carry on till 2012 as the addition of such rich experience to this young Dutch side would be highly rated on any day. With Geovanni van Bronkhorst and Andre Ooijer retired from internationals and Arjen Robben and Robin van Persie sidelined with injuries, Ruud van Nistelrooy’s inclusion to the squad is a sign the Dutch want to ensure a rich mixture of youth and old in the national squad keeping in mind the finals in Poland and the Ukraine in two years time.

The full Netherlands squad:

Goalkeepers: Maarten Stekelenburg (Ajax Amsterdam), Michel Vorm (Utrecht), Piet Velthuizen (Hercules Alicante)

Defenders: Gregory van der Wiel (Ajax Amsterdam), Khalid Boulahrouz (VFB Stuttgart), John Heitinga (Everton), Ron Vlaar (Feyenoord), Joris Mathijsen (SV Hamburg), Erik Pieters (PSV Eindhoven), Vurnon Anita (Ajax Amsterdam)

Midfielders: Ibrahim Afellay (PSV Eindhoven), Mark van Bommel (Bayern Munich), Theo Janssen (Twente Enschede), Nigel de Jong (Manchester City), Hedwiges Maduro (Valencia), Wesley Sneijder (Internazionale), Rafael van der Vaart (Real Madrid), Demy de Zeeuw (Ajax Amsterdam)

Forwards: Eljero Elia (SV Hamburg), Jeremain Lens (PSV Eindhoven), Dirk Kuyt (Liverpool), Klaas-Jan Huntelaar (AC Milan), Ruud van Nistelrooy (Hamburg)

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