Sneijder stunned by loss of Dutch captaincy

Wesley Sneijder has described the loss of the Holland captaincy as a "sledgehammer blow" ahead of the friendly against China.

Football News: Wesley Sneijder

The Galatasaray midfielder was replaced by Robin van Persie, who wore the armband in Friday's clash with Indonesia and was subsequently confirmed as the new permanent Oranje skipper.

Injuries meant Sneijder captained the side on only four occasions last season and coach Louis van Gaal is keen for him to focus on his own fitness rather than leading the team.

But Sneijder told De Telegraaf: "It is a painful decision.

"Partly because I did not see it coming, but also because I have always tried with full dedication to fulfil the role of leader.

"It was a sledgehammer blow but I will have to accept it."

Van Gaal will play his strongest available side on Tuesday and can call on Jeremain Lens and Daryl Janmaat after they both returned to training following injuries.

Having reportedly paid the KNVB 900,000 euros (£765,000) to set up the match, the Chinese Football Association are hopeful of selling 40,000 tickets, which would still leave the Workers' Stadium in Beijing only two-thirds full.

And former national team coach Arie Haan believes the country is still lacking a footballing identity of its own and could face a heavy defeat against his native country.

"In China there are far too many changes," he told the Xinhua News Agency. "First they take a defensive coach, and then a tactical trainer. The continuity is missing. What are they building now?

"Speed will be no problem for the Chinese, heading will be no problem, passing no problem, technique neither. What is lacking is to play as a team. In that sense, the Chinese do not understand football very well. They are all individualists.

"To win, the Netherlands should not go along with the Chinese pace of the game. If the Netherlands dictates the pace, it will be 3-1, 4-1 for the Dutch."



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