Babel will return from Olympics at his peak - Coach

July 28, 2008

Holland Olympic team coach Foppe de Haan has dismissed concerns that Ryan Babel's participation at the Olympics has put the winger at risk of further injury, instead insisting he will return to Liverpool in peak condition.

The 21-year-old was called into the Olympic squad having recovered quicker than anticipated from an ankle injury which denied him the chance to play for his country at Euro 2008.

However, Reds boss Rafael Benitez admitted he is disappointed to be denied the services of the former Ajax player for the start of the season, as well as expressing concern that such a quick return to competitive football could have a damaging effect on his recuperation.

But De Haan has moved to allay any fears that Babel is taking an unnecessary risk by playing in the Olympics.

'I am very happy with Ryan Babel,' said the 65-year-old. 'He is a very good player and is important for us at the Olympics.

'His recovery is going well, sometimes he still feels a little bit of pain but it isn't much and it is getting better.

'Looking to the future for Babel, playing in this tournament should be very good for him as he will go back to his club in good shape.

'A normal pre-season lasts around six to eight weeks and part of that preparation for him is being at the Olympic Games.'

Holland are currently in Hong Kong preparing to take part in the ING Cup this week, a competition that also features the United States, Ivory Coast and Cameroon Olympic teams.

Babel came through a training session unscathed on Sunday and is set to play some part in the Dutch side's first game of the tournament against Cameroon on Wednesday.

'I am hoping he can play half a game on Wednesday and then on Saturday hopefully he can play a little more,' added De Haan.

'Once the Olympic Games come round I am certain he will be ready.'

Babel himself believes he is well on way to a complete recovery and admitted he is relishing the chance to help his country capture a maiden Olympic gold.

'It's exciting to be in Hong Kong, as we're getting closer to the Olympics and I expect to be fully match-fit by then,' he said.