AMSTERDAM (AP) — Coach Louis van Gaal on Friday dropped veteran midfielder Rafael van der Vaart from the Netherlands squad to play Turkey and Hungary in its opening World Cup qualifiers.
Van Gaal also left out midfielders Ibrahim Afellay and Nigel de Jong for both matches.
The announcement came on the day Barcelona said it is loaning Afellay to Schalke and Van der Vaart, who has 100 internationals to his name, was reportedly poised to move from Tottenham to his former club Hamburg. De Jong was in Italy for a medical ahead of a move from Manchester City to AC Milan.
"They have not played enough and their attention is on new clubs," Van Gaal told reporters. "I need players who can focus totally on Turkey and Hungary — those are very tough matches."
Van Gaal called up uncapped Jordy Clasie frm Feyenoord and Leroy Fer of Twente, whose only international was two years ago, to bolster his midfield. Clasie's teammate, defender Daryl Janmaat, was the other uncapped player included by Van Gaal.
Strikers Klaas Jan Huntelaar and Robin van Persie are both in the 23-man squad for the Group D matches against Turkey on Sept. 7 in Amsterdam and Hungary on Sept. 11 in Budapest.
World Cup runner-up Netherlands is looking to bounce back from a disastrous European Championship in which it lost all three group matches.