Dutch put faith in youth to boost defence

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The Independent Football

Attack may be the best form of defence for Holland after their coach Bert van Marwijk turned to an 18-year-old newcomer, Jetro Willems, to fill the troublesome left-back position.

Van Marwijk can call on the leading scorers in the Premier League, Arsenal's Robin van Persie, and in the Bundesliga, Schalke's Klaas-Jan Huntelaar, and has a host of star names in midfield, but his defence is seen as a frail unit to put up against Portugal, Germany and Denmark in the group stage.

As well as Willems, who broke into PSV Eindhoven's first team this season, Van Marwijk included the 21-year-old winger Luciano Narsingh, who helped make Heerenven's Bas Dost the Dutch league's top scorer.

Willems will help to bolster the back line in front of Maarten Stekelenburg, who will have Swansea's Michel Vorm and Tim Krul of Newcastle United competing for the goalkeeper's jersey.

Dick Advocaat, the Dutch coach of Russia, also faced questions over his defence and he too gave a surprise place to a full-back, the right back Kirill Nababkin of CSKA Moscow.

The 25-year-old right back, who was not in the preliminary 26-man list announced two weeks ago, was added to the final squad after the loss of two defenders, Vasily Berezutsky and Roman Shishkin.

His squad also includes three attacking players familiar in England, Arsenal's Andrey Arshavin, Pavel Pogrebnyak of Fulham, and Roman Pavlyuchenko, who left Tottenham for Lokomotiv Moscow this year.

Holland squad Goalkeepers: Stekelenburg (Roma), Vorm (Swansea), Krul (Newcastle). Defenders: Boulahrouz (Stuttgart), Heitinga (Everton), Mathijsen (Malaga), Vlaar (Feyenoord), Bouma (PSV Eindhoven), Van der Wiel (Ajax), Willems (PSV Eindhoven). Midfielders: Afellay (Barcelona), Van Bommel (Milan), De Jong (Manchester City), Schaars (Sporting Lisbon), Sneijder (Internazionale), Strootman (PSV Eindhoven), Van der Vaart (Tottenham). Forwards: Huntelaar (Schalke), De Jong (FC Twente), Kuyt (Liverpool), Narsingh (Heerenveen), Van Persie (Arsenal), Robben (Bayern Munich).