The Hague, Netherlands: Netherlands captain Mark van Bommel says he is stepping aside to make way for young players to break into the national team after its woeful European Championship campaign.
Van Bommel says in a statement on the Netherlands football association website that he is not officially retiring and remains available for the team if needed.
The 35-year-old veteran of 79 internationals says "there could be a time in the future when the coach needs to call me up."
But he adds that "the time is ripe" for young players to break into the national side.
His comments on Wednesday came days after the Netherlands returned home following a dismal run of three defeats and elimination at Euro 2012.
Van Bommel was on the bench for the Netherlands' final match, a 2-1 loss to Portugal.