Van Nistelrooy recalled for injured Van Persie

Veteran striker Ruud van Nistelrooy returned to the Netherlands squad for the first time in two years Monday as coach Bert van Marwijk called him up to replace the injured Robin van Persie for two European Championship qualifiers.

Van Persie injured his left ankle on Saturday in Arsenal’s 2-1 defeat of Blackburn Rovers and the Dutch Football Association said Monday he is likely to be out of action for "at least a few weeks."

Van Nistelrooy last played for the Netherlands in the 2008 European Championship quarterfinal, when he scored his country’s only goal in a 3-1 extra-time loss to Russia. Van Nistelrooy has scored 33 goals in 64 appearances for the Netherlands.

The 34-year-old former Manchester United and Real Madrid player has scored three goals so far this season for his Bundesliga club Hamburg.

He was expected to join the Netherlands’ training camp on Tuesday.

World Cup runner-up the Netherlands plays Group E qualifiers in San Marino on Sept. 2 and against Finland in Rotterdam four days later.

Announcing his squad last Friday, Van Marwijk said Van Nistelrooy could still play in the Euro 2012 campaign.

"Ruud is already 34 and will be 36 in two years at the European Championship but we will call him up if necessary," Van Marwijk said.