After a fine two-goal debut for Feyenoord in Sunday’s demolition of De Graafschap, Romeo Castelen picked up his first cap for the Netherlands national team Wednesday, putting a fine performance against Sweden in Gothenburg in a match that ended 2-2. ‘I look back on it with satisfaction and I hope I can continue to make progress,’ admitted Castelen. ‘Yesterday the national coach said I had to carry on with what I was doing. That was really great to hear.’

The player has made a huge leap from relegation threatened ADO Den Haag to Feyenoord and the national team, but he’s had to work hard to keep up. ‘I realised that I was wearing the shirt of the national team and that I was playing for the country. That was a strange feeling, but it soon disappeared. I had it with Feyenoord on Sunday too. Once I get on the pitch my head is clear and I have the courage to do things. It helped that Van Bommel and De Jong gave me a lot of the ball.’

Castelen had a hand in the visitor’s opening goal, but the words of coach Marco van Basten were just as precious. ‘After the match, the coach said that I had to carry on with what I was doing. People had their doubts about me and that is understandable. I came from ADO and I’m now in the Dutch team, it’s strange. I hope that I’ve shown people some of what I can do.’

Castelen found it all an instructive experience. ‘The high speed the ball went round in training was especially noticeable. That makes me better as a footballer. I hope I get a call up for the next international. But we’ll see. I have to continue to perform and continue making progress. I’ll be focusing exclusively on Feyenoord. On Sunday I have to completely ready against Willem II.’

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