euro-spy: Cruyff Jnr steps out of the shadows

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The Independent Online
All the talk in and around the Dutch camp these past few days has been about the man who is no longer there, the grumpy Edgar Davids, who has been sent packing across the North Sea after complaining about his treatment by the coach, Guus Hiddink.

That is a shame, because it detracts from the impact being made by the Netherlands' most recent international recruit, Jordi Cruyff. And, as if being thrust into an international tournament as an inexperienced youngster is not enough, Cruyff Jnr has to cope with playing in the shadow of a famous father.

The Barcelona player, the son of the multi-talented former Dutch international Johan Cruyff, who delighted fans with his superb skills in the 1970s, scored a fine second-half goal in only his fifth international to set the Dutch on their way to victory over Switzerland last Thursday, and the orange army of fans will be looking for a repeat performance against England at Wembley tomorrow in the match that will decide who wins Group A.

Although, like Steve McManaman, there is a school of thought that Cruyff Jnr would be more effective if he was allowed a free role rather than being stuck out on the wing, he has already done enough to make the Dutch camp glad that he chose to play for them rather then Spain - a decision that he only reached this year.

Hiddink, who witnessed Cruyff's early development at Barcelona when he coached Valencia, was not surprised at his impact. "I knew him from my stay in Spain. I was full of confidence that he was able to play at this level," Hiddink said. "It has been a difficult year for him with injuries, but he has the ability to fit into our play quickly." England have been warned...

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