Netherlands boss Danny Blind has left Memphis Depay out of his latest 30-man squad for the upcoming internationals after saying the Manchester United star doesn't always function in a team. The manager has also dropped Robin van Persie, saying that the former United and Arsenal star is not performing as expected since his move to Fenerbahce.
Holland play two friendlies – against Wales on 13 November and Germany four days later – after surprisingly failing to secure a Euro 2016 spot during a disastrous qualifying campaign in which they finished fourth in group A behind the Czech Republic, Iceland and Turkey.
Depay played a part in the 2014 World Cup under Louis van Gaal, despite then being just a promising teenager, helping his team to third place. He was expected to become one of the leaders of the new Dutch team alongside veterans such as van Persie and Bayern Munich star Arjen Robben. However, Depay and van Persie were involved in a bust-up ahead of the national team's win over Kazakhstan in October, though Blind played the incident down at the time.
Having endured ups and downs in the Premier League since his £25m ($38m) move from PSV to Old Trafford, Depay's omission comes as no great surprise. The Manchester United winger has reputedly been warned about his lifestyle by club legend and assistant manger Ryan Giggs, and he missed their last game against Crystal Palace through injury, though Blind says his absence from the national team is not due to his fitness.
"I think Depay is a player for the future," Blind said, as quoted by Daily Mail. "But there are other issues to look at. Perhaps Louis van Gaal has also said something. In football you must function in a team. He doesn't always do that. I have also told him when I called him to say he's not in there. That's something he has to learn."
Blind also criticised Depay's decision not to speak to the press after Holland's 3-2 defeat to the Czech Republic in European qualifying, saying: "He should have talked about that with us."
The manager insisted that 32-year-old Van Persie may still have a future in the national team but that he needs to play regularly for his current side to regain a spot. "It is not a good sign when a player of that calibre does not play all the matches. Now he starts, but he still only plays an hour and no more than that. When you're a top footballer, you have to play multiple times, 90 minutes. Otherwise you're not very fit. And I think he did not play well," he said.
"We are entering a new era, because we have not qualified for the European Championships. I want to see new players in that position. I have to look to the future. It's definitely not good. I have held talks here with him. He is potentially still the best striker in Holland. Oranje benefits from experienced players. I hope wholeheartedly that he is fit in March. I have also discussed it with Van Persie. He must do more."
Goalkeepers: Jasper Cillessen (Ajax), Kenneth Vermeer (Feyenoord), Jeroen Zoet (PSV), Maarten Stekelenburg (Southampton).
Defenders: Jeffrey Bruma (PSV), Virgil van Dijk (Southampton), Daryl Janmaat (Newcastle United) Terence Kongolo (Feyenoord), Karim Rekik (Olympique Marseille), Kenny Tete (Ajax), Jairo Riedewald (Ajax), Joel Veltman (Ajax).
Midfielders: Vurnon Anita (Newcastle United), Daley Blind (Manchester United), Jordy Clasie (Southampton), Davy Klaassen (Ajax), Wesley Sneijder (Galatasaray), Marko Vejinovic (Feyenoord), Georginio Wijnaldum (Newcastle United).
Forwards: Bas Dost (VFL Wolfsburg), Eljero Elia (Feyenoord), Anwar El Ghazi (Ajax) Klaas-Jan Huntelaar (Schalke 04), Luuk de Jong (PSV), Quincy Promes (Spartak Moscow), Arjen Robben (Bayern Munich).