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Holland coach De Haan happy to have Liverpool's Babel

Holland Olympic team coach Foppe de Haan has defended the selection of Liverpool winger Ryan Babel.

The 21-year-old was called into the Olympic squad having recovered quicker than anticipated from an ankle injury which denied him the chance to play for his country at Euro 2008.

"I am very happy with Ryan Babel. He is a very good player and is important for us at the Olympics," said the 65-year-old. "His recovery is going well, sometimes he still feels a little bit of pain but it isn't much and it is getting better.

"Looking to the future for Babel, playing in this tournament should be very good for him as he will go back to his club in good shape.

"A normal pre-season lasts around six to eight weeks and part of that preparation for him is being at the Olympic Games."

Holland are currently in Hong Kong preparing to take part in the ING Cup this week, a competition that also features the United States, Ivory Coast and Cameroon Olympic teams.

Babel came through a training session unscathed on Sunday and is set to play some part in the Dutch side's first game of the tournament against Cameroon on Wednesday.

"I am hoping he can play half a game on Wednesday and then on Saturday hopefully he can play a little more," added De Haan. "Once the Olympic Games come round I am certain he will be ready."

Babel himself believes he is well on way to a complete recovery and admitted he is relishing the chance to help his country capture a maiden Olympic gold.

"It's exciting to be in Hong Kong, as we're getting closer to the Olympics and I expect to be fully match-fit by then," he said.

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Tribal Football Staff

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