THE HAGUE, the Netherlands, March 10 (Xinhua) -- Louis van Gaal is shocked by the news that Kevin Strootman will miss the 2014 World Cup due to a serious knee injury, the Netherlands head coach declared on Monday.
Strootman got injured on Sunday evening during the Serie A match of his club AS Roma at Napoli (1-0 loss). The 24-year-old midfielder limped off after only thirteen minutes.
An MRI scan and examination on Monday showed that Strootman has torn the anterior cruciate ligament in his left knee and there could also be damage to the meniscus. He will undergo surgery in the next few days.
Strootman will be out for at least half a year and therefore will miss the remainder of the Serie A season and also the World Cup. Dutch head coach Van Gaal had contact with Strootman and was hit by the news.
"This is dramatic for Kevin," Van Gaal said in a statement released by the Dutch football association. "I can imagine that his world right now just collapsed. For the Dutch national team, this is a big loss. Kevin had a very big contribution to our qualification for the World Cup in Brazil. His dream fell apart."
Since moving from PSV to AS Roma last year Strootman developed into a key player at the Italian club. The 25-times Dutch international also was a key figure in the Dutch team. After Robin van Persie and Arjen Robben he was third captain. Van Gaal had hinted that these three players were the only one certain of a starting spot in the Dutch team.
Strootman received support from Dutch captain Van Persie: "I wish @Kevin_strootman a speedy recovery so gutted for you my friend! I'm sure you will come back even stronger!" Van Persie stated on Twitter.