Meerdink out of Dutch squad
By Ben Blackmore. Last Updated: January 1, 1970 1:00am
Holland have lost Martijn Meerdink for the World Cup qualifiers against Romania and Armenia due to damaged knee ligaments.
The Dutch winger injured his knee during the squad's latest training session, and he now faces a lengthy spell on the sidelines.
"It was very unexpected and it looks rather serious," explained Netherlands coach Marco van Basten.
"Martijn did very well in his first time with the squad and he fitted into the group and trained well, but these things prove the toughness of top sport."
Feyenoord's Romeo Castelen, who impressed during the recent friendly against England, has been drafted in as a replacement for the AZ Alkmaar winger.
Meanwhile, Dutch legend van Basten has explained why he has left top striker Roy Makaay out of the current squad.
"It surprised me that Makaay played last weekend for Bayern but my medical staff informed me that he was not ready for these two matches. Makaay is still in a recovery process and we don't want to disturb that."
Holland expect a tough match against Romania, who sit level on points having played one game more and van Basten is warning his team not to underestimate the ability of the Romanian side.
"We studied their 5-1 victory over Germany last year and that showed they have a lot of good players with technical skills. They have proved their strength in the past during European and World Championships, so we will face tough opponents."
The Dutch coach did receive one piece of good news ahead of the clash, as he confirmed that Philip Cocu would be fit to play.
"I spoke with Philip and he is likely to join Friday's training session, but even without training Philip convinced me that he would be ready to play."