Van der Vaart headlines Hiddink's first squad

The return of attacker Rafael van der Vaart headlined Guus Hiddink's first squad back as Netherlands coach.

Hiddink – who has replaced new Manchester United manager Louis van Gaal – named a 25-man squad on Wednesday in preparation for two fixtures next month, beginning with a friendly against Italy on September 5.

The nation's first Euro 2016 qualifier follows four days later against the Czech Republic in Prague.

Van der Vaart has not featured for the Netherlands since November 2013, a goalless friendly draw against Colombia.

The 31-year-old, who battled hamstring and calf problems last term, has scored seven goals in his last 12 national team appearances.

Van der Vaart is one of four members of Hiddink's squad who did not feature at the World Cup, with Erik Pieters, Gregory van der Wiel and Jeroen Zoet all winning call-ups.

Of the 23-man World Cup squad, Jonathan de Guzman and Terence Kongolo have been dropped. Netherlands finished third in this year's showpiece in Brazil.

Netherlands squad:

Goalkeepers: Jasper Cillessen (Ajax), Tim Krul (Newcastle United), Michel Vorm (Tottenham), Jeroen Zoet (PSV)

Defenders: Daley Blind (Ajax), Stefan de Vrij (Lazio), Daryl Janmaat (Newcastle United), Bruno Martins Indi (Porto), Erik Pieters (Stoke City), Gregory van der Wiel (Paris St Germain), Paul Verhaegh (Augsburg), Ron Vlaar (Aston Villa), Joel Veltman (Ajax)

Midfielders: Jordy Clasie (Feyenoord), Nigel de Jong (Milan), Leroy Fer (QPR), Arjen Robben (Bayern Munich), Wesley Sneijder (Galatasaray), Rafael van der Vaart (Hamburg), Georginio Wijnaldum (PSV)

Forwards: Memphis Depay (PSV), Klaas-Jan Huntelaar (Schalke), Dirk Kuyt (Fenerbahce), Jeremain Lens (Dynamo Kiev), Robin van Persie (Manchester United)


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