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Robben replaces Robin van Persie as Dutch captain

Arjen Robben will replace Robin van Persie as the Netherlands captain, new coach Danny Blind said on Friday after naming the squad for the Euro 2016 qualifiers against Iceland and Turkey next month. 

“I did not make the choice on the basis of their football quality,” Blind said in a statement released by the Dutch football association KNVB.

“In their guidance and leadership of their teammates Van Persie and Robben are not inferior to each other. But they have two different personalities. 

“And right now I need a leader to be the most prominent on the pitch. I have asked Robin to be vice-captain and am delighted that he has accepted that role,” Blind said. 

Van Persie had been captain for the last two years, including the World Cup in Brazil last year, taking over in similar circumstance when previous coach Louis van Gaal felt he would be a better leader than Wesley Sneijder, who is still in the Dutch squad. 

“I had a good talk with the coach who wanted to choose his own captain. And I’ve always said Arjen, as did other players,” said Van Persie. 

Blind has taken over from Guus Hiddink and debuts in charge next Thursday against Iceland in Amsterdam in a Group A qualifier. 

The Dutch then meet Turkey away in Konya three days later as they seek to move from third in the standings into an automatic qualifying berth for next year’s European Championships in France. 

The new coach cut his squad from last week’s preliminary line-up of 31 to 23, retaining uncapped teenage defenders Jairo Riedewald and Kenny Tete and confirming a return for Newcastle United’s Vurnon Anita, who won the last of his two caps for the Netherlands in 2010. 

Squad:  Goalkeepers: Jasper Cillessen (Ajax Amsterdam), Tim Krul (Newcastle United), Jeroen Zoet (PSV Eindhoven) 

Defenders: Daley Blind (Manchester United), Jeffrey Bruma (PSV Eindhoven), Stefan de Vrij (Lazio), Terence Kongolo (Feyenoord), Bruno Martins Indi (FC Porto), Jairo Riedewald, Kenny Tete (both Ajax Amsterdam), Gregory van der Wiel (Paris St Germain) 

Midfielders: Ibrahim Afellay (Stoke City), Vurnon Anita (Newcastle United), Davy Klaassen (Ajax Amsterdam), Wesley Sneijder (Galatasaray), Georginio Wijnaldum (Newcastle United).  
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