Dutch national team captain Arjen Robben spoke to NOS ahead of their World Cup qualifier against Luxembourg about his return to the national team fold, differences between club level, reporting for national team duty and the state of the pitch on which they will play on Sunday.

  • By James Rowe
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robben-neth-trainRobben has missed all Netherlands World Cup qualifiers so far, but returns for the must-win tie against Luxembourg on Sunday.

The Oranje captain believes they must play at a high tempo to beat Luxembourg, ”We have to win the game against Luxembourg and give everything. We must play an intensive game for 90 minutes and not let our opponents breath and therefore we will create enough chances to score goals. We must also not blow the game out of proportion and we must respect our opponents. Luxembourg drew with Belarus and kept Sweden at bay for an hour. We will be prepared in terms of knowing how they play. We must play at a high tempo and service our attackers. If we do that I am sure that we can win the game.”

On injuries and his return to the national team he added, ”Statistics do not lie and it’s worrying not only for the Dutch national team but other countries in terms of injuries sustained when players are away on international duty. In our last international break we suffered 5 injuries and in the game against Belgium another 3 injuries and that is too many. I have thought about possible causes and I have discussed it with the medical staff and my theory is that everything is different at international level. Training, The rhythm of the matches played and approach of the national team staff and that is different to what you experience at club level.

”In my case it is different due to only just returning to the national team fold recently after 6 months away and I am still not at my level. I have to be smart about it and that means only play the World Cup qualifying games instead of friendlies because there is nothing to win when playing friendlies. My goal is to remain fit until the winter break and then continue after that. I always have to assess what the best physical solution is for me.

”I have trained twice with the national team and things are going well. I have heard reports of the state of the pitch in Luxembourg and that they played rugby on it 2 or 3 days ago. To play on those types of pitches again reminds me of the past when I used to play on those types of pitches in my youth. We have to make the best of it in this instance. We could complain and become irritated due to the circumstances but we have to deal with the situation.”

James Rowe (696 Posts)