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Southamptons-Dutch-defender-Virgil-van.jpg

Van Dijk pays for Southampton exile by losing place in Holland squad forWorld Cup qualifiers

Date Posted,August 15, 2017

Virgil van Dijk has been left out of the Holland squad for their upcoming World Cup qualifiers – including the crucial clash with France.

The centre-half, at a transfer stand-off with Southampton, has been left out ahead of the fixtures in Paris on August 31, and at home to Bulgaria on September 3.

Van Dijk, 26, didn’t play for the Saints in the final three months of last season due to injury, before being left out of the weekend draw with Swansea as his St Mary’s exile continues.

The ex-Celtic man, who has 12 caps to his name, has worked his way back to fitness, but remains on the outside looking in under new Saints boss Mauricio Pellegrino, as he looks for a move to Liverpool.

Van Dijk has handed in a transfer request to try and force a switch to Anfield, citing a determination to play in the Champions League, but Southampton are standing firm.

The Saints are standing firm (Image: AFP)
Dutch head coach Dick Advocaat (Image: AFP)

He has been training away from the first-team squad and now has paid for his absence by losing his place in Dick Advocaat’s squad for the make-or-break qualifiers.

“He is currently not training at Southampton,” said Advocaat, in a statement released by the Dutch football association. “It does not make sense to invite him.”

Robin van Persie has been recalled after a two-year absence, while Wesley Sneijder has also been included.

Dirk Kuyt
Van Persie, who spent last year with Fener, is recalled (Image: Reuters)

“I worked with him last season at Fenerbahce where he showed what he could do,” Advocaat said. “Robin is a player we might still need but we’ll see in the next weeks how fit he is and if he is playing.

“This is a preliminary squad so players can fall out or be included later.”

Holland currently sit third in their qualifying group for Russia 2018, with 10 points from six games.

They are three points behind joint leaders France and Sweden.

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