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FOOTBALL: Bergkamp: Ruud deserved to be dumped for his attack on Dutch chief; INTERNATIONAL FOOTBALL SPECIAL: BUILD-UP 'WE SHOULD PICK KLUIVERT OR JIMMY'.

Byline: Darren LEWIS


SATURDAY, KO 3PMDENNIS BERGKAMP has launched a fierce attack on Ruud van Nistelrooy, insisting Holland boss Dick Advocaat was RIGHT to axe him.

In a double blast, the Gunners striker believes Chelsea top-scorer Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink should be in the side instead.

Advocaat dumped van Nistelrooy when the Manchester United star called him a coward after being substituted during Holland's Euro 2004 qualifying defeat to the Czech Republic.

The United striker - an instant first choice at Old Trafford - was so rocked by the blow to his ego that he failed to score in open play in his next six games.

Bergkamp insists van Nistelrooy has only himself to blame for the punishment that led to his loss of form.

He said: "It is a tough job for the manager of any Dutch side because there are always going to be strong personalities to deal with. It is in our nature in Holland to speak our mind.

"This can also be a good thing because strong characters in any team can make a big difference when you need that little bit extra in a game. Ruud van Nistelrooy is a strong personality and he also is a player that can win you matches.

"But he reacted too much to his substitution during Holland's game against the Czech Republic last month.

"No player likes being substituted but on that occasion Ruud went too far and that was why Dick Advocaat had to drop him for the next game."

Advocaat (pictured inset) initially banned van Nistelrooy from playing in the two-legged Euro 2004 play-offs against Scotland this weekend. Now, however, he has recalled the striker because of a series of injuries and behind-the-scenes rows in the Dutch camp. Bergkamp, however, believes in-form Hasselbaink and Barcelona's out-of-favour Patrick Kluivert should be in the line-up instead.

Hasselbaink is Chelsea's joint-top scorer with six goals despite not always being in the side at Stamford Bridge.

And Kluivert is still finding the net at the Nou Camp even though fans there want him out.

Bergkamp added: "Although Patrick has had his critics he is the only player to have overtaken my goal-scoring record for Holland, so he can't be that bad!

"Also, there is a case that Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink should be in the squad.

"It is very difficult to say who are the best strikers for Holland at the moment and we are lucky to have so much talent in the country."

Meanwhile ex-Manchester United defender Jaap Stam has warned he will quit international football if Holland lose to Scotland over the two legs.

Stam wants to make Euro 2004 his swansong to international football in which he has won 56 caps, but if the Scots pull off an upset and shock Holland, Stam will hang up his boots.

He confirmed: "I'm still enjoying international football and I will definitely play in Euro 2004 if Holland get there.

"Once that is over I think it will be the end of the international game for me as I don't expect to be playing at that level when the next World Cup comes around.

"So getting there is very important to me and has made this game all the more vital.

"It won't be easy for us. I have played in Scotland before and their supporters are very fanatical.

"With that kind of support you can't be sure of anything in a game as big as this."


SPEAK YOUR MIND: Dennis Bergkamp lays into Ruud van Nistelrooy; BIG MOUTH: Van Nistelrooy called Advocaat a coward for substituting him
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Copyright 2003 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

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Title Annotation:Sport
Publication:The Mirror (London, England)
Date:Nov 13, 2003
Previous Article:Football: DE BOER'S OP HOPE.

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