Dutch consider central striking role for Van Persie

06 November 2009 01:37
Robin van Persie could be deployed as a central striker for the Netherlands in friendlies against Italy and Paraguay later this month, coach Bert van Marwijk said on Friday.

Van Persie has played centrally at the tip of the front three for Arsenal this season but performed mainly as an attacking midfielder on the right flank for the Dutch during the 2010 World Cup qualifying campaign.

"We have discussed it extensively among the technical staff but it also is important that the players around him function well," Van Marwijk told a news conference after announcing a 23-men squad for the matches against Italy in Pescara on November 14 and Paraguay in Heerenveen four days later.

"In my opinion he is not an old fashioned centre forward."

Dirk Kuyt was the first choice as central striker during the 2010 qualifiers but at Liverpool he is used predominantly on the right wing, while Klaas-Jan Huntelaar is not a first choice for new club AC Milan and has yet to score after becoming surplus to requirements at Real Madrid in the close season.

Van Marwijk has retained Huntelaar is his squad but wants the striker to be playing regular first-team football.

"I sometimes make exception as you see right now, but towards the World Cup finals the tension will increase, he added.

"I always hope that my players are fit, in form and play at the highest possible level, but if you hardly play for six months the chance that you will be in the World Cup squad will be very small."

Midfielder Mark van Bommel returns to the squad after missing the last four matches with a broken toe, while injured defender Andre Ooijer is not available.


Goalkeepers: Maarten Stekelenburg (Ajax Amsterdam), Michel Vorm (Utrecht), Piet Velthuizen (Vitesse Arnhem)

Defenders: John Heitinga (Everton), Joris Mathijsen (SV Hamburg), Edson Braafheid (Bayern Munich), Gregory van der Wiel (Ajax Amsterdam), Giovanni van Bronckhorst (Feyenoord), Khalid Boulahrouz (VFB Stuttgart)

Midfielders: Nigel de Jong (Manchester City), Demy de Zeeuw (Ajax Amsterdam), Stijn Schaars (AZ Alkmaar), Ibrahim Afellay (PSV Eindhoven), Wesley Sneijder (Internazionale), Rafael van der Vaart (Real Madrid), Orlando Engelaar (PSV Eindhoven), Mark van Bommel (Bayern Munich)

Forwards: Dirk Kuyt (Liverpool), Robin van Persie (Arsenal), Klaas Jan Huntelaar (AC Milan), Eljero Elia (SV Hamburg), Ryan Babel (Liverpool), Arjen Robben (Bayern Munich)

(Editing by Justin Palmer)

Source: Eurosport