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Dennis Bergkamp



Dennis Bergkamp
This will represent Bergkamp's last chance of impressing in a major international tournament, as his well-publicised fear of flying makes it impossible for him to play in the World Cup in Japan and South Korea.

Ironic, then, that it comes just as his once-impregnable position in the Dutch team is finally coming under threat.

It is not just the emergence of Manchester United's injured transfer target Ruud Van Nistelrooy that has threatened Bergkamp, but also his uncertain form over the last 12 months.

While he has performed adequately - if spectacularly - for Arsenal when fit, he has failed to deliver at international level for a number of months.

Coach Frank Rijkaard has stuck with him, reasoning that great players do not turn bad overnight, and he has got a point - particularly following Van Nistelrooy's enforced absence.

When Bergkamp has had lean spells before, they have always been temporary - and he remains Holland's all-time top scorer ahead of such luminaries as Van Basten and Cruyff.

And anyone who can score the sort of goal that knocked Argentina out of France 98 has to be given every possible inch of leeway.



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