Arjen Robben has been made captain of the Netherlands in Danny Blind’s first squad since taking over from Guus Hiddink as national coach, replacing striker Robin Van Persie. Blind said on Friday he needs a captain with more “on-field presence” as his team heads into two crucial European
Championship qualifiers against Group A leader Iceland and Turkey.
“I have not made this choice based on their soccer skills,” Blind told the Dutch federation’s website.
“In the guidance and coaching of teammates Van Persie and Robben are not inferior to each other — but they are two different personalities and right now I need a leader with [Robben’s] on-field presence.”
Robben said: “I consider it a great honour that the coach has asked me to be captain and will fulfil this role with great pride and responsibility. “But I also want to emphasise that we should do it right, all together. We have a common goal — to make the European Championships.”
Van Persie said he understood Blind’s decision.
“I have had a good talk with the coach, who indicated his understanding to choose his own captain in this new project,” the Fenerbahce striker said.
“I’ve always said Arjen, I and the other guys did it together. I will fill the role of vice-captain with pride. I will always give everything for my country.”