DOHA: Netherlands striker Memphis Depay has declared himself fit for the World Cup, alleviating concerns that he might miss the tournament in Qatar, although he is not certain to start their first game on Monday (Nov 21).
Depay trained with the team, who put in a session on Tuesday just hours after arriving in Qatar for the tournament, having struggled with a hamstring injury for two months.
"Training has gone very well. I could do everything I do in a match, only then of course you go full for 90 minutes, over longer distances," he told reporters.
Depay must now wait to see whether Louis van Gaal risks starting him against Senegal in their opening Group A match.
Van Gaal places high value on player fitness but in the build-up to the World Cup made clear he would make exceptions in picking Depay and his Barcelona colleague Frankie de Jong, who Van Gaal regards as the team’s most essential players.
The coach last week did say said Depay might have to come off the bench against Senegal.
"It's not really about whether I agree with the national coach," said Depay in response. "It's about his vision, about what's best for the team and for me. I want to contribute, not one game, but the whole tournament. I also have to be honest: sometimes I need to be protected from myself a little. I want so much."
Depay hurt his hamstring playing for the Dutch against Poland in the Nations League in September and his recovery took longer than expected.
"Mentally that has been tough ... I've struggled the past few weeks, but I've done everything I can to get fit. That's part of being an athlete, it's my job. But there is more to it than just training, especially mentally," Depay added.