Van der Sar turns down international comeback
AMSTERDAM (AP) -Manchester United goalkeeper Edwin van der Sar has turned down an offer to come out of international retirement for a second time to help the Netherlands qualify for next year's World Cup.
Coach Bert van Marwijk told the Algemeen Dagblad newspaper he called the 38-year-old Van der Sar "against my better judgment'' to ask him to play because of an injury and form crisis that has hit the three keepers named in the Netherlands' roster.
"I knew beforehand what the answer would be, but I called him anyway,'' Van Marwijk said in the interview published Wednesday.
Van der Sar, the most capped Dutch footballer of all time with 130 appearances, retired from internationals after Euro 2008. However, he agreed to make a one-off comeback last October for qualifiers against Iceland and Norway to cover for injuries. The Netherlands won both matches and he kept two clean sheets.
Van Marwijk tried to persuade Van der Sar to come back again for home qualifiers against Scotland on March 28 and Macedonia on April 1.
The squad's three keepers, Maarten Stekelenburg, Henk Timmer and Michel Vorm, "are all sick, injured or coming back from injury,'' he said.
Stekelenburg, who has recovered from injury but has not managed to regain his place in Ajax's first team, remains Van Marwijk's first choice.
"Of all the keepers at the moment, he has the most potential,'' said Van Marwijk, who names his squad for the Scotland and Macedonia qualifiers on Friday.
Van der Sar set an English league record this year after going 1,311 minutes without conceding a goal for Manchester. The stretch started Nov. 8 after Arsenal's Samir Nasri beat him twice in a 2-1 victory and ended March 4 when his blunder gifted Newcastle's Peter Lovenkrands a goal in the ninth minute of Manchester United's 2-1 Premier League victory.