Dutch squad for England friendly

ZEIST - Netherlands have kept faith with three promising young players in a 23-man squad to face England in Wednesday's international friendly at Wembley.

Coach Bert van Marwijk has again included midfielders Kevin Strootman, 21, and Georginio Wijnaldum, 20, plus 19-year-old defender Jeffrey Bruma in his squad for the match.

The trio were called up for the trip to South America in June for matches with Brazil and Uruguay when several regulars were missing but have been retained in the squad.

Demy de Zeeuw and Stijn Schaars have been left out while fellow midfielder Theo Janssen, who missed the visit to South America through injury, has not been recalled.

"Strootman did very well during the trip to South America while Wijnaldum is a [promising] playmaker," Van Marwijk told a news conference on Friday.

Wijnaldum came into the squad for the South American tour after Wesley Sneijder pulled out with a calf injury.

Van Marwijk wants to assess the fitness of Inter Milan's Sneijder and fellow playmaker Rafael van der Vaart of Tottenham Hotspur who limped off in a pre-season friendly on July 30.

"Although everyone is fit, I have to see how Wesley Sneijder comes back from the trip to China [for Saturday's Italian Super Cup match against Serie A champions AC Milan] and how Rafael van der Vaart's fitness is," said Van Marwijk.

The Dutch are top of Euro 2012 qualifying Group E with a maxium 18 points, three ahead of Sweden, while England head Group G level on 11 points with Montenegro after five matches.

Netherlands host San Marino in their next qualifier on September 2 when England visit Bulgaria.


Van Marwijk said he does not consider qualifying for the finals in Poland and Ukraine an easy task despite their fine start and wants to see his players tested against England.

"These are matches with a lot of prestige at stake and England are one of the best teams in the world," he said.

"They have a lot of potential with players who are all active in the strongest league in the world."

"The way they got eliminated by Germany at the World Cup [4-1 in the second round at last year's finals in South Africa] doesn't reflect their strength."

Van Marwijk's squad contains 15 players from the World Cup but Ruud van Nistelrooy remains a notable absentee.

However, the coach said he had told the Malaga striker he was still in contention for a place at next year's finals.

Bayern Munich winger Arjen Robben has been included despite struggling with an ankle injury sustained in a pre-season friendly against AC Milan.

"Arjen joins in every training session at his club and will be in action this coming weekend so if nothing happens to him he will be in Noordwijk [with the squad] on Monday," said Van Marwijk, who has still not decided if he will stay on when his cotract expires on June 30 next year.

Bayern host Borussia Moenchengladbach on Sunday in their opening game of the Bundesliga season.

Netherlands squad:

Goalkeepers: Maarten Stekelenburg (AS Roma), Michel Vorm (Utrecht), Tim Krul (Newcastle United)

Defenders: Khalid Boulahrouz (VfB Stuttgart), Edson Braafheid (Hoffenheim), Jeffrey Bruma (SV Hamburg), John Heitinga (Everton), Hedwiges Maduro (Valencia), Joris Mathijsen (Malaga), Erik Pieters (PSV Eindhoven), Gregory van der Wiel (Ajax Amsterdam).

Midfielders: Mark van Bommel (AC Milan), Nigel de Jong (Manchester City), Wesley Sneijder (Inter Milan), Kevin Strootman (PSV Eindhoven), Rafael van der Vaart (Tottenham Hotspur), Georginio Wijnaldum (PSV Eindhoven)

Forwards: Eljero Elia (SV Hamburg), Klaas Jan Huntelaar (Schalke 04), Luuk de Jong (Twente Enschede), Dirk Kuyt (Liverpool), Robin van Persie (Arsenal), Arjen Robben (Bayern Munich)