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Last Updated: Tuesday, 14 October, 2003, 10:18 GMT 11:18 UK
Van Nistelrooy begs to face Scots
Netherlands striker Ruud van Nistelrooy
Ruud van Nistelrooy was dropped for the match against Moldova
Netherlands striker Ruud van Nistelrooy has urged Dick Advocaat to give him a chance to end Scotland's Euro 2004 dream.

The Manchester United goalscorer was dropped from the Dutch squad for the final qualifier against Moldova at the weekend after reacting angrily to his substitution in the previous match against the Czech Republic.

And, despite the 5-0 victory in his absence, Van Nistelrooy is looking to get back into the manager's good books by helping the Dutch qualify for the finals in Portugal next summer.

"I was so disappointed to be left out of the last squad," he said. "I'm desperate to be back in for the play-off matches.

"The manager gave me his reasons for leaving me out and I had to accept them.

We have underachieved for too long and the time has come for us to prove ourselves
Giovanni van Bronckhorst
"I thought everything had been sorted out, but he decided to leave me out to make an example of me.

"What happened has made me even more determined to come back and help the Netherlands get to the finals."

But Van Nistelrooy also predicted great things for Scotland midfielder and Old Trafford team-mate Darren Fletcher after his winner against Lithuania secured a play-off berth for Berti Vogts' team.

"Darren is a fantastic young player with a great future ahead of him," he said.

"He's broken into the first team at United this season and has proved he can handle himself there."

Barcelona midfielder Giovanni van Bronckhorst has instead singled out former Rangers team-mate Barry Ferguson as the main threat to the Dutch.

"He is great in that central midfield position," he said. "He's very influential and will make sure that the rest of the guys around him carry out their roles properly.

"I suppose we are reasonably happy to be facing them rather than Turkey, Spain or Croatia, but it's not going to be easy.

"From my time in Scotland, I know their players have great determination.

"You know that when you play Scotland you are going to be put under a lot of pressure and you have to be alert all the time."

Van Bronckhorst, who will be joined against Scotland by present club-mate Patrick Kluivert, believes the Dutch are changing their game to cope better with such opponents.

"We know that we are technically better, but these days that is not enough to win matches," he said.

"Our problem over the last couple of years is that we have relied too much on sheer footballing ability and not had the right attitude.

"That is something we are working on. We have underachieved for too long and the time has come for us to prove ourselves."

Rangers forward Ronald de Boer and former Ibrox team-mate Arthur Numan have already been winding up the Scotland players in the champions' ranks, telling them that the Netherlands are on their way to the finals in Portugal.







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