Netherlands discord centres on role of captain Mark Van Bommel

 

Kharkiv

The Dutch split for many reasons. Sometimes, it is ego, epitomised by Ruud Gullit's refusal to play in the 1994 World Cup because Dick Advocaat was not Johan Cruyff, the man Gullit wanted to manage the team. Two years later, the Dutch camp divided on racial lines, although the dispute may also have had plenty to do with money.

The reason for the latest fault lines that threaten to topple one of the favourites almost before the competition has properly begun was sat beside Bert van Marwijk at the Netherlands' official press conference last night..

Mark van Bommel is not just the Dutch captain, he is their manager's son-in-law and father to his three grandchildren. And in the scarcely hidden views of many of the squad, this is the principal reason why he is likely to start against Germany tonight.

The 35-year-old, whose style of play can politely be described as "uncompromising", was not only recalled to the Dutch side by Van Marwijk after being sidelined by his predecessor, Marco van Basten, he was made captain.

It should be said that Van Bommel did not want the job and perhaps he should have trusted his instincts. In any football dressing room, especially one as volatile and full of talent as that of the Dutch, the captain has to be an automatic selection. When Van Marwijk announced his starting line-up for Saturday's fateful defeat to Denmark, Rafael van der Vaart and Klaas-Jan Huntelaar were both angered by their omissions, Nigel de Jong by his substitution. Huntelaar may be brought back in tonight and it may be at the expense of Robin van Persie or the winger Ibrahim Afellay may make way with the Arsenal man playing in the hole.

De Jong, who was brought off with time draining away, stalked his way through the mixed zone in the Metalist Stadium, believing that Van Bommel should have been the man to make way. Even Dirk Kuyt, who at Liverpool was the epitome of hard work and loyalty, thought he should have played, adding: "You never ever get over the disappointment of being a substitute."

Van der Vaart expects the feeling to stay with him for the remainder of the European Championship. "The manager has had his starting line-up in his head for a long time," said the Spurs midfielder. "He has players he counts on and, obviously, I don't come into that category.

"I have got the feeling that I am not going to get back into this team. We have seen over the years that he is a manager who does not change his mind very easily. I think I have the right to bring this subject up."

For Wesley Sneijder, there has been too much talking already. When it was suggested that the Dutch FA bring in a psychologist to their base camp in Krakow, he reacted with disdain. "Don't even bother talking to me about that kind of nonsense," he said.

"If players have problems with each other, then they should talk them through, face to face. If the players can't reach an agreement, I can't imagine a psychologist is going to succeed."

Head to head

Robin van Persie (Arsenal)/Klass-Jan Huntelaar (Schalke)

48 2011/12 club games 47

37 Goals 48

17 Assists 10

7 2011/12 Dutch games 7

6 Goals 5

1 Assists 1

Life and Style
Steve Shaw shows Kate how to get wet behind the ears and how to align her neck
healthSteven Shaw - the 'Buddha of Breaststroke' - applies Alexander Technique to the watery sport
Arts and Entertainment
The sight of a bucking bronco in the shape of a pink penis was too much for Hollywood actor and gay rights supporter Martin Sheen, prompting him to boycott a scene in the TV series Grace and Frankie
tv
Sport
footballShirt then goes on sale on Gumtree
Voices
Terry Sue-Patt as Benny in the BBC children’s soap ‘Grange Hill’
voicesGrace Dent on Grange Hill and Terry Sue-Patt
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment
Performers drink tea at the Glastonbury festival in 2010
music
Arts and Entertainment
Twin Peaks stars Joan Chen, Michael Ontkean, Kyle Maclachlan and Piper Laurie
tvName confirmed for third series
Sport
Cameron Jerome
footballCanaries beat Boro to gain promotion to the Premier League
Arts and Entertainment
art
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services

Day In a Page

Abuse - and the hell that came afterwards

Abuse - and the hell that follows

James Rhodes on the extraordinary legal battle to publish his memoir
Why we need a 'tranquility map' of England, according to campaigners

It's oh so quiet!

The case for a 'tranquility map' of England
'Timeless fashion': It may be a paradox, but the industry loves it

'Timeless fashion'

It may be a paradox, but the industry loves it
If the West needs a bridge to the 'moderates' inside Isis, maybe we could have done with Osama bin Laden staying alive after all

Could have done with Osama bin Laden staying alive?

Robert Fisk on the Fountainheads of World Evil in 2011 - and 2015
New exhibition celebrates the evolution of swimwear

Evolution of swimwear

From bathing dresses in the twenties to modern bikinis
Sun, sex and an anthropological study: One British academic's summer of hell in Magaluf

Sun, sex and an anthropological study

One academic’s summer of hell in Magaluf
From Shakespeare to Rising Damp... to Vicious

Frances de la Tour's 50-year triumph

'Rising Damp' brought De la Tour such recognition that she could be forgiven if she'd never been able to move on. But at 70, she continues to flourish - and to beguile
'That Whitsun, I was late getting away...'

Ian McMillan on the Whitsun Weddings

This weekend is Whitsun, and while the festival may no longer resonate, Larkin's best-loved poem, lives on - along with the train journey at the heart of it
Kathryn Williams explores the works and influences of Sylvia Plath in a new light

Songs from the bell jar

Kathryn Williams explores the works and influences of Sylvia Plath
How one man's day in high heels showed him that Cannes must change its 'no flats' policy

One man's day in high heels

...showed him that Cannes must change its 'flats' policy
Is a quiet crusade to reform executive pay bearing fruit?

Is a quiet crusade to reform executive pay bearing fruit?

Dominic Rossi of Fidelity says his pressure on business to control rewards is working. But why aren’t other fund managers helping?
The King David Hotel gives precious work to Palestinians - unless peace talks are on

King David Hotel: Palestinians not included

The King David is special to Jerusalem. Nick Kochan checked in and discovered it has some special arrangements, too
More people moving from Australia to New Zealand than in the other direction for first time in 24 years

End of the Aussie brain drain

More people moving from Australia to New Zealand than in the other direction for first time in 24 years
Meditation is touted as a cure for mental instability but can it actually be bad for you?

Can meditation be bad for you?

Researching a mass murder, Dr Miguel Farias discovered that, far from bringing inner peace, meditation can leave devotees in pieces
Eurovision 2015: Australians will be cheering on their first-ever entrant this Saturday

Australia's first-ever Eurovision entrant

Australia, a nation of kitsch-worshippers, has always loved the Eurovision Song Contest. Maggie Alderson says it'll fit in fine