Coach praises Van der Sar
Dutch coach Marco van Basten has described Edwin van der Sar as his 'right hand man on the pitch'.
Last Updated: 12/06/08 7:46pm
Dutch coach Marco van Basten has sung the praises of veteran keeper Edwin van der Sar - his 'right hand man on the pitch'.
He believes the 37-year-old Manchester United shot-stopper - known as 'Papy' to the rest of the squad - makes an immensurable contribution to the Dutch.
With 126 caps, he has a wealth of experience to help the younger members of the side, who beat Italy 3-0 in their first match of the tournament.
But van Basten said: "He is much more than that.
"Because he is a guide, an advisor to the younger players, a confidant to others and my right hand man on the pitch. It is a blessing to have such a player in the team."
Van der Sar himself is looking forward to the game against World Cup finalists France on Friday.
"It's a huge challenge," he said.
"But I am sure that France - no more than Italy were - are delighted at the thought of meeting us.
"Our team is an adult one. All the pivotal players are two years older than we were at the 2006 World Cup (where they went out to Portugal in an ill-tempered second round match).
"That is important. Also the majority of the players are playing abroad, with big clubs in major leagues. Players like Wesley Sneijder, Rafael van der Vaart, Robin van Persie or Dirk Kuyt have come on fast in the past few months."