News24

Van Basten drops Van Nistelrooy

2006-08-11 16:42

Amsterdam - Netherlands coach Marco van Basten dropped Ruud van Nistelrooy for a friendly against Ireland next week, opting for Ajax striker Klaas Jan Huntelaar instead.

Van Basten selected his 18-man squad on Friday for the match at Lansdowne Road in Dublin on Wednesday.

The 22-year-old Huntelaar scored twice in Ajax's 2-1 win over FC Copenhagen in the Champions League and was a controversial omission from Van Basten's World Cup squad after scoring 33 goals in 34 Dutch league games last season.

Van Nistelrooy, who last month completed his transfer from Manchester United to Real Madrid, was benched by Van Basten for his team's last match - a second round loss to Portugal - because of his poor form in Germany.

The two fell out during the World Cup after Van Basten openly criticized Van Nistelrooy's performance, but the coach later said they had patched up their differences.

Van Basten said Van Nistelrooy and FC Barcelona midfielder Mark van Bommel, who also was dropped, were unlikely to win back their places any time soon.

"At the moment we think these players are better," Van Basten said of his new team. "We want to go further with this group because we have faith in these players."

Huntelaar was one of three players selected by Van Basten from the Dutch Under-21 team that won the European Championship in Portugal shortly before the World Cup. He scored twice in the 3-0 final victory over Ukraine. The other two were Ajax defender Urby Emanuelson and Stijn Schaars of AZ Alkmaar.

Defender Khalid Boulahrouz and midfielder Giovanni van Bronckhorst were both unavailable after being sent off against Portugal.

Squad:

Goalkeepers: Edwin van der Sar (Manchester United), Henk Timmer (AZ Alkmaar)

Defenders: Tim de Cler (AZ Alkmaar), Urby Emanuelson (Ajax), John Heitinga (Ajax), Kew Jaliens (AZ Alkmaar), Joris Mathijsen (AZ Alkmaar), Andre Ooijer (PSV Eindhoven), Nigel de Jong (Hamburg)

Midfielders: Denny Landzaat (Wigan), Stijn Schaars (AZ Alkmaar), Wesley Sneijder (Ajax), Rafael van der Vaart (Hamburg)

Forwards: Klaas Jan Huntelaar (Ajax), Dirk Kuyt (Feyenoord), Robin van Persie (Arsenal), Arjen Robben (Chelsea), Jan Vennegoor of Hesselink (PSV Eindhoven)

AP