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Wednesday, June 23, 2010
'Martyr' Robben raring to go for Dutch

Soccernet staff

Netherlands winger Arjen Robben is raring to get his World Cup campaign underway, and believes he has suffered "like a martyr" to be fit in time to play at the finals.

• Preview: Pride left to play for
• Van Marwijk praises spirit

Robben, 26, has had to sit out the first two games because of a thigh injury picked up in the Oranje's 6-1 World Cup warm-up victory over Hungary.

But after an intensive period of rehabilitation he is determined to be involved in the final group game against Cameroon, in order to experience some match-time ahead of their second round match.

"I want to play," Robben said. "I have to have game-time in order to rediscover my feeling and the rhythm of the matches. I had to suffer like a martyr to get fit in time for the finals."

Robben admitted he is uncertain whether he will start against the Indomitable Lions, but insisted that whatever role he plays will be down to a tough course of rehab.

"The decision as to whether I play on Thursday has not been taken," Robben said. "I have to discuss it with the coach. But it appears that the match against Cameroon is ideal for getting me back into the action.

"This kind of injury normally takes four to six weeks of rehabilitation," he said. "My physio got me back on my feet in two weeks, but I really suffered."

Inter Milan playmaker Wesley Sneijder said that if fit there was no choice for coach Bert van Marwijk but to start with the talismanic Robben.

"When Arjen is fit, he has to play," Sneijder said. "We cannot overlook a player of his calibre."

Robben is certainly keen to get out on the pitch as soon as possible but he has stressed that he will abide by whatever decision Van Marwjik makes.

"It is the coach who decides," Robben said. "He knows our qualities, our potential. We have qualified for the second round and I see us going a long way in the World Cup.

"The group has matured. The talent is there. And we have retained the lessons of our failure in the Euro 2008 quarter-finals against Russia.

"Am I the crystal player that certain people describe me as? I cannot deny that I have been injured often. That is down to my style of play, explosive. But despite those risks that that induces, I have no intention of reining myself in."

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