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Premier pair vital for Holland

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05 Jul 2010 22:01:17

Premier pair vital for Holland

England's World Cup quest may have been disappointingly brief, but the Premier League can still enjoy some reflected glory from Holland's charge to the semi-finals.

The Dutch take on Uruguay in Cape Town on Tuesday looking to recreate the 1970s glory era, with coach Bert van Marwijk placing his trust in Liverpool's Dirk Kuyt and Arsenal's Robin van Persie.

"I read somewhere that when Rafael Benitez picked a team at Liverpool, he wrote Kuyt's name down first - that says everything," said Van Marwijk. "The way he plays shows his passion and enthusiasm, and it is catching. He is extremely important for us."

Van Persie was out of action for five months after suffering a major ankle injury on international duty last November.

It has taken the Arsenal star a bit of time to find his form, with just one goal so far in South Africa, but van Marwijk believes the 26-year-old remains a major influence.

"Robin is extremely talented," he said. "He is one of the best football players on this planet. He was injured for a very long time and you do need a certain rhythm. Sometimes it comes just like that. Sometimes it takes a bit longer.

"But he was better in the last match than the one before. Players with so much talent can suddenly decide a game. I always believe in him and still do."

Ahead of a game that has been punctuated by questions over Luis Suarez's glorification of the blatant handball that gave Uruguay their shot at glory, Arjen Robben's conduct has not gone unnoticed. The Dutch winger has always had a tendency to hit the ground at the first available opportunity, which has been highlighted over recent days.

Even van Marwijk admits there are times when the former Chelsea star has gone too far, although he insists Robben has cleaned up his act.

"He doesn't do it deliberately," the manager added. "Arjen is incredibly fast and creative. Maybe he has done things in the past that he shouldn't but he has learned and doesn't do it any more."


PA

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