PSV midfielder Kevin Strootman said the Netherlands have lost a lot of quality since making it to the 2010 World Cup final.
Strootman has become a key player for Oranje under national team coach Louis van Gaal, and he is adamant they will be back among the world’s finest teams when it matters most at the 2014 World Cup in Brazil.
“We all know that Oranje were a great team at the World Cup. However, some of the players who were among the European top (teams) are no longer with the team,” Strootman told De Telegraaf.
“We have some players who are on the rise, but who aren’t there just yet. We can make up for this loss in quality by playing with our heart.
“However, we shouldn’t exaggerate things too much. The guys who are among the experienced players now were not stars yet fours ago, either.
“We have two more years ’til the World Cup. We have to be at our best by then.”
Strootman will become Oranje’s youngest captain ever in a competitive match in Friday’s qualifier against Andorra, and the midfielder is determined to live up the expectations.
“Things are going very fast and this happens with highs and lows. That’s typical for a young player, but I don’t want to hide behind my age,” he said.
“There’s no room for excuses when you have already made numerous Eredivisie appearances and have made 13 international appearances.
“I have to limit the lows, and make sure I always reach a certain level.”