De Guzman, Blind get 1st Netherlands call-ups
THE HAGUE, Netherlands (AP)
Swansea midfielder Jonathan de Guzman and Ajax defender Daley Blind received their first full international call-ups on Friday for Netherlands' friendly against Italy next week.
De Guzman, who was born in Canada, is being rewarded by Netherlands coach Louis van Gaal for a string of strong club performances in the English Premier League.
He takes his place in a new-look Dutch midfield without big names including Wesley Sneijder, who recently completed a transfer from Inter Milan to Galatasaray, and Rafael van der Vaart.
Instead of his two established midfield stars, Van Gaal selected a largely untested combination of Jordy Clasie of Feyenoord, Adam Maher of AZ Alkmaar and Marco van Ginkel of Vitesse Arnhem, who have only five caps between them.
With Van Gaal looking to rebuild the Netherlands team that lost all three of its matches at last year's European Championship, the most experienced midfielder is Keven Strootman of PSV Eindhoven, who has 15 international appearances.
Sneijder's international career is likely far from over, but he has only recently returned to action after a long injury layoff and has to establish himself at Galatasarayfollowing his move from Milan.
Robin van Persie of Manchester United and Klaas Jan Huntelaar of Schalke resume their long battle for the starting striker's spot in Van Gaal's 20-man squad, with wingers Ola John, Jeremain Lens and Dirk Kuijt also selected up front.
De Guzman's Swansea teammate, Michel Vorm, is one of three goalkeepers, alongside Tim Krul and Kenneth Vermeer.
The Netherlands and Italy play on Wednesday at Amsterdam Arena.
Goalkeepers: Tim Krul (Newcastle United), Michel Vorm (Swansea City), Kenneth Vermeer (Ajax).
Defenders: Daley Blind (Ajax), Ricardo van Rhijn (Ajax), Stefan de Vrij (Feyenoord), Daryl Janmaat (Feyenoord), Bruno Martins Indi (Feyenoord), Joris Mathijsen (Feyenoord), Ron Vlaar (Aston Villa).
Midfielders: Jonathan de Guzman (Swansea), Jordy Clasie (Feyenoord), Adam Maher (AZ Alkmaar), Kevin Strootman (PSV Eindhoven), Marco van Ginkel (Vitesse Arnhem).
Forwards: Ola John (Benfica), Klaas-Jan Huntelaar (Schalke), Jeremain Lens (PSV), Robin van Persie (Manchester United), Dirk Kuijt (Fenerbahce).