Arsenal striker Robin van Persie boosted Dutch hopes of landing their second European title on Tuesday as he told AFP he believed he would be fully fit by the time Euro 2008 starts on June 7.
However, there are many who think that should he not convince coach Marco van Basten by May 28 of his fitness then he will be one of the three players who will be cut as there are presently 26 in the squad, and the limit is 23.
The 24-year-old was bedevilled with injuries during the Premiership campaign but insisted that he could get back to top form as The Netherlands attempt to add the 2008 trophy to the one that their 1988 predecessors – which included van Basten – won.
“After all the physical niggles I had this season it is not obvious that I am going to be at the top of my form,” said van Persie after the Dutch had had their first training session at their training camp here.
“I must take it gradually (getting back to full fitness) but I am optimistic, I think, that I will be ready for the beginning of the tournament,” added van Persie, who trained apart from the rest of the squad with a physiotherapist.
Van Persie, scorer of seven goals in his 23 internationals, suffered from several different injuries during what was both a frustrating campaign for him and the club, as he went down with knee, thigh and ankle problems.
“It is both tiring physically as well as psychologically because each time I thought I was getting back to being fully fit, I had a reverse,” he said.
“The coach has confidence in me, which is very pleasing and reassuring,” added van Persie, who is unlikely to be fit for the warm-up match with Ukraine on Saturday.
Van Basten, though, is confident van Persie will be lining up with the Dutch come the start of the tournament.
“I do not want to take a risk with Robin,” said van Basten, who will step down after the tournament and take charge of Ajax.
“My wish is that he will be 100percent fit on June 9 (the Dutch begin their challenge against world champions Italy).”
The Dutch are in the Group of Death with not only Italy but World Cup finalists France and dark horses Romania.
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