Koeman hoping for new talent to take place of old guard

AMSTERDAM: New Netherlands coach Ronald Koeman is looking for his team to shine in his first match in charge against England this week, but admitted on Monday the Dutch had lost a lot of quality players in recent years.
Arjen Robben and Wesley Sneijder both recently retired from international football, while fellow veteran Robin van Persie is lacking match fitness.
Koeman said he would have to gamble with youth for the match in Amsterdam on Friday and then for their second game three days later in Geneva against Portugal.
“We have said goodbye to several creative players that you don’t just replace that easily. Now we have youngsters who still need to develop and only the future will tell if they are able to reach the same heights,” he told a news conference.
Koeman suggested the 34-year-old Robben would still have a role to play in the Dutch team had he not retired and added he was not ruling out a return for Van Persie, 34, once he proved his fitness at Feyenoord.
“He showed his class again yesterday,” Koeman said of the striker’s performance for his club on Sunday as he scored twice in a 4-3 win at PEC Zwolle in the Dutch league.
The 33-year-old Sneijder, who holds the Dutch record of 133 caps, quit the international arena earlier this month.
With Koeman having been appointed coach of the national side last month, the upcoming friendlies represent the first chance he will have to assess the scale of the job he has taken on. — Reuters