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

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
SPONSORED FEATURES
Independent Dating
and  

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

Career Services

Day In a Page

Blairites be warned, this could be the moment Labour turns into Syriza

Andrew Grice: Inside Westminster

Blairites be warned, this could be the moment Labour turns into Syriza
HMS Victory: The mystery of Britain's worst naval disaster is finally solved - 271 years later

The mystery of Britain's worst naval disaster is finally solved - 271 years later

Exclusive: David Keys reveals the research that finally explains why HMS Victory went down with the loss of 1,100 lives
Survivors of the Nagasaki atomic bomb attack: Japan must not abandon its post-war pacifism

'I saw people so injured you couldn't tell if they were dead or alive'

Nagasaki survivors on why Japan must not abandon its post-war pacifism
Jon Stewart: The voice of Democrats who felt Obama had failed to deliver on his 'Yes We Can' slogan, and the voter he tried hardest to keep onside

The voter Obama tried hardest to keep onside

Outgoing The Daily Show host, Jon Stewart, became the voice of Democrats who felt the President had failed to deliver on his ‘Yes We Can’ slogan. Tim Walker charts the ups and downs of their 10-year relationship on screen
RuPaul interview: The drag star on being inspired by Bowie, never fitting in, and saying the first thing that comes into your head

RuPaul interview

The drag star on being inspired by Bowie, never fitting in, and saying the first thing that comes into your head
Secrets of comedy couples: What's it like when both you and your partner are stand-ups?

Secrets of comedy couples

What's it like when both you and your partner are stand-ups?
Satya Nadella: As Windows 10 is launched can he return Microsoft to its former glory?

Satya Nadella: The man to clean up for Windows?

While Microsoft's founders spend their billions, the once-invincible tech company's new boss is trying to save it
The best swimwear for men: From trunks to shorts, make a splash this summer

The best swimwear for men

From trunks to shorts, make a splash this summer
Mark Hix recipes: Our chef tries his hand at a spot of summer foraging

Mark Hix goes summer foraging

 A dinner party doesn't have to mean a trip to the supermarket
Ashes 2015: With an audacious flourish, home hero Ian Bell ends all debate

With an audacious flourish, the home hero ends all debate

Ian Bell advances to Trent Bridge next week almost as undroppable as Alastair Cook and Joe Root, a cornerstone of England's new thinking, says Kevin Garside
Aaron Ramsey interview: Wales midfielder determined to be centre of attention for Arsenal this season

Aaron Ramsey interview

Wales midfielder determined to be centre of attention for Arsenal this season
Community Shield: Arsene Wenger needs to strike first blow in rivalry with Jose Mourinho

Community Shield gives Wenger chance to strike first blow in rivalry with Mourinho

As long as the Arsenal manager's run of games without a win over his Chelsea counterpart continues it will continue to dominate the narrative around the two men
The unlikely rise of AFC Bournemouth - and what it says about English life

Unlikely rise of AFC Bournemouth

Bournemouth’s elevation to football’s top tier is one of the most improbable of recent times. But it’s illustrative of deeper and wider changes in English life
A Very British Coup, part two: New novel in pipeline as Jeremy Corbyn's rise inspires sequel

A Very British Coup, part two

New novel in pipeline as Jeremy Corbyn's rise inspires sequel
Philae lander data show comets could have brought 'building blocks of life' to Earth

Philae lander data show comets could have brought 'building blocks of life' to Earth

Icy dust layer holds organic compounds similar to those found in living organisms