Van der Vaart returns for Holland

Rafael van der Vaart was today recalled to the Holland squad for the World Cup qualifiers against Andorra and Romania after proving his fitness to coach Louis van Gaal.

Rafael van der Vaart was today recalled to the Holland squad for the World Cup qualifiers against Andorra and Romania after proving his fitness to coach Louis van Gaal.

Van der Vaart sat out the recent wins over Turkey and Hungary after suffering a disrupted pre-season due to his move from Tottenham to Hamburg.

But he, along with fellow established internationals Nigel de Jong and Ibrahim Affelay, have been included for the double-header later this month.

De Jong and Affelay were also transferred late in the summer window, the former from Manchester City to AC Milan and the latter from Barcelona to Schalke.

But it is Van der Vaart’s return which is likely to be the most important with the former Real Madrid man likely to go straight into the side to replace the injured Wesley Sneijder.

“We concluded he is incredibly fit and that’s good news because I already knew he is a great footballer,” Van Gaal said.

There were two new faces in Van Gaal’s 20-man party – Ajax goalkeeper Kenneth Vermeer and Feyenoord forward Ruben Schaken.

Holland play Andorra in Rotterdam next Friday before visiting Romania four days later.

Although they were not named in the initial party, Van Gaal is hoping Feyenoord defender Joris Mathijsen and Bayern Munich winger Arjen Robben will be fit for the latter assignment in Bucharest.

“I hope and expect Mathijsen will play, Robben is more difficult,” Van Gaal said.

The Holland squad is: Stekelenburg (Roma), Vorm (Swansea), Vermeer (Ajax); Heitinga (Everton), Janmaat (Feyenoord), Martins Indi (Feyenoord), Viergever (AZ Alkmaar), Vlaar (Aston Villa), Van Rhijn (Ajax); Emanuelson (AC Milan), De Jong (AC Milan), Strootman (PSV Eindhoven), Van der Vaart (Hamburg), Afellay (Schalke); Huntelaar (Schalke), Lens (PSV Eindhoven), Narsingh (PSV Eindhoven), Van Persie (Manchester United), Kuyt (Fenerbahce), Schaken (Feyenoord)

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