Date: 4th June 2008 at 4:12pm
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Dutch national coach Marco van Basten is ready to consider using Robin van Persie for their opening fixture against Italy in just 5 days time.

“Physically he is okay now. But he needs to be back to his old self as soon as possible.” Says van Basten. ‘He can do this quickly because he wasn’t out for a very long time.’

Van Persie had been training by himself,outside of the main Dutch group, having missed all three of last weeks warm up games against Ukraine, Denmark and Wales. He has now joined the group training sessions in Lausanne in preparation for the opening games. The Dutch medical team seems confident that the thigh injury that had kept him out of recent matches has completely healed but Arsenal fans will be concerned that the striker has really put the injuries behind him.

It is 18 months since a broken metatarsal sustained at the beginning of January 2007 ended his season prematurely and he has made just 23 appearances, including 3 as a substitute, last season. Infrequent though his appearances were he still managed 9 goals in the games he played showing his importance for both club and country.

The Dutch are possibly taking some encouragement from the performances of Arjen Robben who had earned a similarly fragile, injury prone reputation finally debuting for Real Madrid at the end of December 2007 having joined them in August on the back of an injury struck season at Chelsea.

‘All the pains and knocks he [Robben] has suffered seem to have gone and he will be important for us in the finals ” claims van Basten.

If he has finally put this unhappy period behind him and Robin goes on to have a successful and rewarding tournament it will set him up very well for the coming season. All Arsenal fans are bound to feel some apprehension though and fingers will be firmly crossed that he comes through unscathed.