Injury-prone Dutch attacking midfielder Robin van Persie said on Wednesday he was ready to take his place against world champions Italy in their Euro 2008 opener on June 9 – should coach Marco van Basten feel he was match fit.
The 24-year-old Arsenal star has recovered from his latest injury – this time his thigh – but unlike his team-mates he has not had the chance to play in a warm-up match, van Basten did not want to risk a player he considers integral to his chances of adding the Euro 2008 title to the one he won as a player in 1988.
Van Persie, scorer of seven goals in his 23 internationals, admits that he is a little pensive approaching such a big match as that with the Italians having not played since April.
“Yes, of course I am a little nervous,” said van Persie, who suffered from knee, ankle and thigh injuries last season.
“Its only human.
“Even if I am a player who rapidly rediscovers his match rhythm, a training session is not the same as playing in a match.
“That is why, I asked Marco van Basten to organise a friendly match this week, whether it be between two sides made up from the squad or a small Swiss side.
“That would have been ideal. But having see the calendar, the coach did not want to give in to my request.
“I absolutely understand he (van Basten) must also think of the other players.
“So in effect, the only thing that is left to me to do is to stretch myself to the limit at the training sessions.”
Van Persie said whether that would be enough to persuade van Basten to include him in the starting line-up against the Italians was open to question, especially as the Dutch possess several talented attacking midfielder options such as Rafael van der Vaart, Arjen Robben and Wesley Sneijder.
“In any case, I will be available for selection,” said van Persie.
“The coach will make his choice and I know his choice will both be the best for the squad and for me.
“Thus whatever it is I will accept it. If van Basten thinks that I can add something to the team, he will pick me.”
Van Persie praised van Basten for the way he had let him ease himself back to fitness and not rushed him back for one of the friendlies.
“Van Basten on the advice of the doctors let me do light training for the first two weeks of the training camp so as I could get back to 100percent,” said van Persie.
“I hope that is the case now. I am confident. And I congratulate the medical staff who really have got me right back on track. They have performed an outstanding job.
“I am happy and relieved. It seems really strange to be kicking the ball once again.”
- Soccer News Like
- Be the first of your friends!