Ronald Koeman Not Ruling Out Robin Van Persie Comeback

Netherlands manager Ronald Koeman has admitted that Robin van Persie could still re-enter the national team fray, provided he can sustain his fitness. The 34-year-old, who is the country’s leading scorer with 50 goals, has not featured since the 4-0 defeat to France in a World Cup qualifier in late August.

Van Persie has netted four times following his return to hometown club Feyenoord during the winter transfer window, and speaking in a press conference, Koeman opened the possibility of Van Persie making another Holland comeback, he said: "He has not said he will stop, but he will first have to be completely fit. He once again showed his class on Sunday, and I do not say no in advance."

Meanwhile, Netherlands are in need of a new skipper ahead of this month’s friendlies against England and Portugal. Dutch legends Arjen Robben and Wesley Sneijder have both retired from international duties, and with Van Persie not in the picture, Koeman suggested that Liverpool defender Virgil van Dijk could be handed the captain’s armband, he said: “I'm going to decide that. I'm not into voting, so I'm going to decide. I don't think it must necessarily be a new leader. It must be someone who has dominance in the group and plays in a certain position. Virgil van Dijk is a possibility as a captain.”

Netherlands have endured a tough 12 months in international football having failed to qualify for both the 2016 European Championship as well as the 2018 World Cup, and the latter comes as a huge shock, considering the Dutch have made at least the semi-final stage in the previous two editions. The transition already begun during the middle of their World Cup qualifiers, and Koeman now has the task of rebuilding the side into a position where they can compete in major tournaments once more.