After announcing his international retirement last week, Dirk Kuyt posted a picture on Twitter of him and his children preparing to watch the Netherlands take on Kazakhstan in their Euro 2016 qualifier.
Kuyt op links, Kuyt op rechts, Kuyt voorin en Kuyt achterin. Weinig veranderd maar nu vanuit Istanbul. Succes mannen! pic.twitter.com/SQOM9p7cg9— Dirk Kuyt (@Dirk_18_Kuyt) October 10, 2014
Netherlands icon Dirk Kuyt found himself in an unfamiliar position on Friday evening, taking in the Oranje’s Euro 2016 qualifier against Kazakhstan from the comfort of his own home.
The versatile forward announced his retirement from international football last week having scored 24 goals in 104 appearances since his debut in September 2004, stating that he felt there was no longer a role to fill under new manager Guus Hiddink.
‘I still want to be relevant on the field but feel the coach no longer has the role for me that I want,’ he told both De Telegraaf and Algemeen Dagblad. ‘That's why I think it is best to retire.’
The Netherlands lost 2-1 to the Czech Republic last month in their opening Euro 2016 qualifier in Prague, with Kuyt’s status an unused substitute prompting the 34-year-old Fenerbahce ace to step aside.
To ease the transition, the former Liverpool stalwart kitted his children out in his number 15 shirt for the 3-1 home win, although he believes he is still capable of performing at the top level.
‘It would have been easy to stop after a successful World Cup but I still felt fit, and the coach wanted to keep me,’ he added. ‘That's why I continued, but on condition that I felt good about the role I would be given.
‘But against the Czechs it became clear to me that the choice of attackers fell more towards the youngsters. That left me with a support role. I have to be honest: I'm 34-years old and I don't have the energy to sit for two more years on the bench and rarely play.’
Kuyt represented the Netherlands in five consecutive major international tournaments from 2006 to 2014, coming closest to tasting success in the 2010 World Cup in South Africa, where he started all seven games on the road to a 1-0 extra-time final defeat to Spain.
A prolific striker during the early stages of his career with Feyenoord in Eredivisie, his £9 million move to Anfield in August 2006 would see him reinvent himself over the next six seasons as a versatile option, capable of filling a number of different roles thanks to his work-ethic and football nous.
That trait was outlined during the run to the World Cup semi-finals this summer, when ex-boss Louis van Gaal opted to use him at both right and left wing-back on occasions, as well as on the wing and at centre-forward.