Van Persie given room to recover
Marco van Basten is demanding that every Netherlands player be fit for their opening UEFA EURO 2008™ game, but is making an exception for Robin van Persie.
The Arsenal FC forward has not played a competitive match since 28 April and has been training apart from the rest of the squad since joining the Netherlands training camp on Tuesday. Van Basten wants all his players to be fully fit in time for the tournament opener against Italy on 9 June, yet has said he will not rush Van Persie. The 24-year-old has been restricted by knee and thigh injuries all season, making just 15 Premier League outings in 2007/08.
"In principle, I believe any player who wants to be part of the EURO squad has to be able to play in the first match, but Robin is a very special player," said the coach. "We will be taking him with us even if he is a doubt for the Italy game. We do not want to take risks with Van Persie." Former Feyenoord prodigy Van Persie has scored seven goals in 24 internationals, and Van Basten added: "Maybe he has returned too soon from injuries in the past. That is why we have chosen to have him train alone. We just have to wait and see when he is totally fit again. But obviously I hope that will be as soon as possible." The Oranje also face France and Romania in Group C.