Van Basten calls for duo
By Gerrit van Leeuwen. Last Updated: January 1, 1970 1:00am
Holland coach Marco van Basten has called on young midfielders Nigel de Jong and Stijn Schaars to act on standby for his World Cup squad.
Oranje are suffering with a raft of injuries, with Wesley Sneijder, Kew Jaliens, Philip Cocu, Rafael van der Vaart and Giovanni van Bronckhorst all struggling with their fitness.
Although van Basten's medical team are hopeful the quintet will recover for the tournament in Germany, the Dutch chief has opted to introduce back-ups to the training camp as a precautionary measure.
Schaars graduates from the Under-21 side for the first time, where he was captain of the team that won their European Championship on Sunday, and could be included in the full squad any time up until 2pm on Saturday - 24 hours before Holland's first game with Serbia & Montenegro.
De Jong is included in van Basten's plans for the first time since he moved to the Bundesliga to join Hamburg from Ajax in January, and the versatile star is well placed to benefit should any of the five stars not prove their fitness for the tournament.
Indeed the 21-year-old will travel to the Dutch base in Hinterzarten straight away, with Schaars joining the other 24 players who leave Holland on Tuesday.