Netherlands coach Bert van Marwijk has included PSV Eindhoven duo Wilfried Bouma and Jetro Willems in his final 23-man squad for UEFA EURO 2012.
It has been four years since the 33-year-old Bouma last appeared in an Oranje shirt – in a 2-0 win against Romania at UEFA EURO 2008 – while 18-year-old Willems, by contrast, has just completed his first season in the Eredivisie with PSV. The duo are likely to compete with Stijn Schaars for the left-back berth in Poland and Ukraine after the Sporting Clube de Portugal midfielder made his debut in the friendly against England on 29 February.
Coach Van Marwijk said it was a difficult decision to cut the likes of Vurnon Anita, Siem de Jong, Jeremain Lens and Dutch young player of the year Adam Maher from his initial 27-man provisional squad. "I have taken time to talk with the omitted players and explain why," he said. "They deserved that after their good work. They can leave the training camp with their heads held high."
From the team that started the final defeat against Spain at the 2010 FIFA World Cup final, only retired left-back Giovanni van Bronckhorst is missing. Uncapped forward Luciano Narsingh also takes his place in a squad that has a wealth of attacking options.
The Netherlands start their final tournament on 9 June against Denmark before facing Germany and Portugal – all in Kharkiv. Prior to the tournament, they play three friendly matches, against Bulgaria today, Slovakia on 30 May and Northern Ireland on 2 June.
Goalkeepers: Tim Krul (Newcastle United FC), Maarten Stekelenburg (AS Roma), Michel Vorm (Swansea City AFC).
Defenders: Khalid Boulahrouz (VfB Stuttgart), Wilfred Bouma (PSV Eindhoven), John Heitinga (Everton FC), Joris Mathijsen (Málaga CF), Ron Vlaar (Feyenoord), Gregory van der Wiel (AFC Ajax), Jetro Willems (PSV Eindhoven).
Midfielders: Mark van Bommel (AC Milan), Nigel de Jong (Manchester City FC), Stijn Schaars (Sporting Clube de Portugal), Wesley Sneijder (FC Internazionale Milano), Kevin Strootman (PSV Eindhoven), Rafael van der Vaart (Tottenham Hotspur FC).
Forwards: Ibrahim Afellay (FC Barcelona), Klaas-Jan Huntelaar (FC Schalke 04), Luuk de Jong (FC Twente), Dirk Kuyt (Liverpool FC), Luciano Narsingh (sc Heerenveen), Robin van Persie (Arsenal FC), Arjen Robben (FC Bayern München).
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