Today brought devastating news that Kevin Strootman will miss the World Cup after the Dutchman tore his cruciate ligament. We look at the players who could replace the Roma man in Netherlands midfield.

  • By Michael Bell
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clasie aStrootman brought leadership and fight to Netherlands midfield, and was one of the first names on nationals team boss Louis van Gaal’s team sheet. ┬áThe potential replacements for Strootman, should van Gaal keep to his tactic of two holding midfielders are:

Stijn Schaars (PSV Eindhoven)

Since joining the Eredivisie club from Sporting Lisbon, Schaars has brought his career back on track, and call ups to the national team have followed. When Strootman went off injured in the recent friendly with France, Schaars was the replacement, and will hope to be the same at the World Cup.

Does not have the same explosive style as Strootman, and is less of a goal threat, but Schaars can add experience in the centre of the pitch, and is great at breaking up the play.

Nigel de Jong (AC Milan)

De Jong has been in and out of the Dutch team since that moment in the 2010 World Cup final, but should be on the plane to Brazil. On his day the AC Milan midfielder is one of the best holding midfielders in Europe. Much more defensive than Strootman, but that may be needed when the Dutch face Spain, and Chile

Jordy Clasie (Feyenoord)

Started the recent game with France alongside Strootman in midfield, and despite the defeat, Clasie was one of the best Dutch players on the pitch. A battler with a great passing range, who has just been named captain of Feyenoord. Will surely be in Brazil, and with Strootman out, Clasie could be granted a starting spot.

Daley Blind (Ajax)

Has impressed in the holding midfield role for Ajax when not deployed in his usual left back position. However Blind played in the midfield against Japan recently, and clearly struggled. If he could transfer his club form to the national team, then Blind in the midfield could be a master stroke.

Leroy Fer (Norwich)

Fer hasn’t had the best first season with Norwich as his side have struggled in the bottom half of the Premier League, but Fer could add strength to the midfield, which will be missing in Strootman’s absence. Box to box, good tackler, strong, and can score. Fer could be a revelation.

Other outside possibilities:

Vurnon Anita- Newcastle United midfielder has been in decent form this season, and could be a shock call up.

Marco van Ginkel- The Chelsea man could have been the perfect replacement for Strootman, but he has been injured for most of the season, and is unlikely to play for the Premier League side before the end of the season. If fit he would be a massive risk.

Davy Propper- Vitesse man has been one of the surprises of the Eredivisie season, and has been called up to the national team before. More attacking than Strootman, however and would need a change of tactic.

Did we miss someone? Comment below with your choices.

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