By Richard Bright
Dutch coach Max Caldas cut a confident figure on Friday as he selected his 18-strong squad for next month’s men’s Hockey World Cup.
Dutch forwards Bjorn Kellerman, Jorrit Croon and Joep de Mol were left out of Caldas’ squad but Jeroen Hertzberger, who returned to the national squad after over a year in April, is included and will play in his third World Cup alongside Robbert Kemperman, Billy Bakker, Valentin Verga.
The Dutch won bronze in 2010 and silver in 2014 and will be hoping to win gold in India after losing the title on home soil to world No 1 Australia four years ago.
Meanwhile, Oranje-Rood’s Pirmin Blaak has been appointed as the first choice goalkeeper.
“These past tournaments both goalkeepers a lot of experience”, said Caldas. “They have both become stronger but we decided to designate Pirmin as the first keeper.
“We are top athletes and we are going to India to win the World Cup, but we realize that we are not the only country that has that goal.
“The competition is huge, it is close together and we are better than we’ve ever been, both technically and tactically, physically and mentally. And if we can bring that, we’ll take part in the title, that I’m convinced.”
GKs: Pirmin Blaak (Orange-Red), Sam van der Ven (HGC)
Defenders: Mink van der Weerden (Orange-Red), Sander Baart (Braxgata), Sander de Wijn (Kampong), Floris Wortelboer (Bloemendaal), Glen Schuurman (Bloemendaal), Lars Balk (Kampong)
Midfielders: Seve van Ass (HGC), Billy Bakker (Amsterdam), Valentin Verga (Amsterdam), Robbert Kemperman (Kampong) and Jonas de Geus (Almere)
Attackers: Mirco Pruyser (Amsterdam), Jeroen Hertzberger (Rotterdam), Bob de Voogd (Oranje-Rood), Thierry Brinkman (Bloemendaal), Thijs van Dam (Rotterdam)