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De Jong back in Netherlands squad

Manchester City midfielder Nigel de Jong has been handed a recall to the 25-man preliminary Netherlands squad for next month's friendly against Austria.

Coach Bert van Marwijk had said he had "no other option" but to drop De Jong after the player faced heavy criticism for his challenge on Newcastle's Hatem Ben Arfa, who suffered a double leg break.

However, after missing the Euro 2012 qualifying wins over Moldova and Sweden, he has been restored to the squad for the friendly in Eindhoven on February 9.

Van Marwijk, though, has left Bayern Munich star Arjen Robben out of the squad because he believes the player is still struggling for full fitness after missing the first half of the season through injury.

"Arjen and I have talked extensively and we both believe he needs more time to completely return to his former level," the coach said.

Luuk de Jong and Kevin Strootman have been called up for the first time.

Netherlands squad: Maarten Stekelenburg (Ajax), Michel Vorm (FC Utrecht); Peter Wisgerhof (FC Twente), John Heitinga (Everton), Demy de Zeeuw (Ajax), Hedwiges Maduro (Valencia), Joris Mathijsen (Hamburg), Gregory van der Wiel (Ajax), Erik Pieters (PSV Eindhoven); Mark van Bommel (AC Milan), Ibrahim Afellay (Barcelona), Urby Emanuelson (AC Milan), Nigel de Jong (Manchester City), Theo Janssen (FC Twente), Robin van Persie (Arsenal), Wesley Sneijder (Inter Milan), Rafael van der Vaart (Tottenham), Kevin Strootman (FC Utrecht), Stijn Schaars (AZ Alkmaar); Klaas-Jan Huntelaar (Schalke), Dirk Kuyt (Liverpool), Luuk de Jong (FC Twente), Ruud van Nistelrooy, Eljero Elia (both Hamburg), Jeremain Lens (PSV Eindhoven).

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