The Hague, Nov 10 (Xinhua) Netherlands head coach Danny Blind called up Erik Pieters as a replacement for injured Jairo Riedewald in the preparation for the friendlies against Wales and Germany. Ajax defender Riedewald reported at the start of the Dutch training camp in Noordwijk, but he went home after his medical examination showed the extent of his knee injury, reported Xinhua news agency. His replacement, the 27-year-old Pieters, who played his last of 18 matches for the Netherlands in September last year, has a steady season with Stoke City up to now, starting in all 12 Premier League matches.
From the initial Netherlands squad of 24 players announced last Friday, Feyenoord goalkeeper Kenneth Vermeer already withdrew on Sunday due to a groin injury. He was replaced by PSV’s Jeroen Zoet. The main absentee in the squad is Robin van Persie, an all-time top scorer with 50 goals in 101 Dutch internationals. Head coach Blind wants the 32-year-old Fenerbahce forward to turn fit first and play full matches for his club. Feyenoord midfielder Marko Vejinovic is the only debutant in the squad. Captain Arjen Robben will only play the first match against Wales on November 13 in Cardiff and skip the next one against Germany on November 17 in Hannover.