Strootman from fan to player at Euro 2012June 7th, 2012 - 6:02 pm ICT by IANS
The Hague, June 7 (IANS) Kevin Strootman played for Sparta Rotterdam in the Dutch second division in January last year and now he is part of the Netherlands football squad for Euro 2012.
After a move to FC Utrecht in January 2011, his career gained momentum with his debut in the national team and a transfer to Dutch top club PSV Eindhoven. The 22-year-old midfielder even was a regular starter for Holland in 2011. He already played a total of 11 internationals.
“Playing for Holland is of course the ultimate thing,” Strootman told Xinhua. “During the 2010 World Cup, I was still watching with my friends in front of the television, wearing a Dutch national team shirt, just as a supporter. Now I can play with the guys I only knew from TV, such big names.
“In the beginning I had to get used to it. But I enjoy it every time and I do my best on the field.
“In the beginning, nothing was expected of me, everything I did was good. It went well, but the last matches I started were not very good. I was extremely disappointed by that, because this is the stage where I want to show myself. I must ensure I remain at this level. That is my goal.”
Strootman especially refers to the 3-0 defeat against Germany in a friendly in November last year. The Germans will be the opponents in Group B of Euro 2012 as well.
“You don’t want to lose such a match that way, definitely not with such clear figures,” he said. “In the media, one could see a certain flow saying the Netherlands can easily become European champion and after that game the opinions totally reversed.”
Denmark will be the first opponent of the Dutch Saturday, followed by Germany and Portugal.
“Yes, we are in a tough group, but that’s what you play for,” the Dutch midfielder said.
“It’s an enormous challenge. Maybe people expect a little less from the Netherlands, but it’s nice to prove the opposite and show that we still belong to the top.”
Strootman hopes to repeat the success of 1988, when Holland captured the European title with players like Marco van Basten, Ruud Gullit, Frank Rijkaard and Ronald Koeman.
“At that time the Netherlands really had the best players in Europe,” he said.
“Now you have so many countries with good players. The Netherlands will always go to a tournament to win and this time it will be no different.”
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- Gullit tips Germany to win Euro 2012 - Jun 07, 2012
- Can the highly talented Dutch finally win World Cup? (Group E profile) - May 30, 2010
- Van Marwijk includes uncapped Willems, Narsingh in Euro 2012 squad - May 27, 2012
- Gullit interested in coaching Australia - May 31, 2010
- Dutch title race wide open after defeats of PSV and AZ - Feb 20, 2012
- Ruud Gullit for pact barring big clubs luring away native talent - Jul 29, 2012
- PSV sign Dutch forward Narsingh - Jul 16, 2012
- Uncapped Narsingh and John in Dutch squad against England - Feb 24, 2012
- Footballer Ruud Gullit to visit Kolkata - Jul 25, 2012
- Euro 2012 Group B Preview: Many challenges in Group of Death - Jun 05, 2012
Tags: club psv eindhoven, debut, dutch national team, euro 2012, european champion, fc utrecht, football squad, germans, hague, holland, internationals, match, midfielder, momentum, netherlands, opponent, opponents, sparta rotterdam, world cup, xinhua