'Robben is still a good player' – Bayern boss Kovac urges 34-year-old to 'march forward'

The Dutchman said that retiring from international duty has helped his fitness but admits his club future beyond this season is uncertain

Bayern Munich boss Niko Kovac has urged 34-year-old Arjen Robben to 'march forward' as the Bavarians prepare to do battle with Ajax in the Champions League.

The Dutchman, who won the Eredivisie's Young Player of the Year award and the league title with Ajax's rivals PSV Eindhoven in the 2002-03 season, has scored three goals in five league games this term.

Kovac has plenty of options on the wing, with Franck Ribery, Serge Gnabry and James Rodriguez all vying for a place in his starting line up, but he indicated that Robben would get the nod against Ajax on Tuesday.

"He knows Dutch football of course," Kovac told reporters. "He will probably play tomorrow.

"Arjen is highly motivated. He had 96 games for his country. He's from Eindhoven and of course that's a good motivator.

"He wants to show that he is still a good player and he is a good player. I want him to march forward."

With his contract due to expire at the end of the season, speculation over Robben's future at Bayern has been rife and his recent good form has only increased supporters' desire for the veteran forward to make a commitment to playing on.

The former Chelsea forward said that his retirement from international football in 2017 had helped his fitness but admitted that he is uncertain where he will be playing next season.

"I feel great right now, I love it here," said Robben. "We will see what happens when my contract expires.

"I think it is important to play a lot of games to maintain a rhythm but you do need breaks when you get older.

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"One of my reasons for ending my international career was to be able to maintain my quality and continue to play at this level. We have a couple of weeks coming up when I can recharge my batteries and these breaks are really important to me.

"I'm not thinking about ending. It could be a year or two or three years. I can't predict the future. We'll have to wait and see.

"I can't battle nature. At some point it will be over but maybe someone from the outside has to tell me that I should finally stop."

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