DIRK KUYT insists pal Giovanni van Bronckhorst will not shirk difficult decisions at Rangers after dropping him to the bench when he was captain at Feyenoord.

The pair played together for the Netherlands for a decade before hooking up again when van Bronckhorst was manager at Feyenoord and Kuyt was still a player.

It was a successful combination, with the Rotterdam side winning the Dutch league for the first time in 18 years in 2017 when they pipped Ajax by just a single point.

But Kuyt, the former Liverpool striker, insists van Bronckhorst was not afraid to put their friendship to one side in the pursuit of success.

He said: “He’s very experienced now. He did his first job at Feyenoord and I came back after several years.

“It was tough for us because I played for 10 years with Giovanni and we became friends in that period, and then suddenly he was my manager and I was the captain.

“So, we struggled sometimes but he did a great job.

“He was always very calm, he always made the right decisions.

“And not only is he a good coach on the pitch but he’s also a very good manager.

“In my spell at Feyenoord we were very successful. We won the cup and the league title, but as the captain he put me on the bench as well.

“It must be very tough for him to make these kinds of decisions if you have played as team-mates and we played together in the national team for 10 years.

“I was his captain and he still made the decision not to play me. He just did it for the team because he was thinking this was the right thing to do.

“I can see him being very successful at Rangers because he is a very experienced person in football.

“And also I have to say he’s a family man and a great human being.”

Van Bronckhorst spent four years in charge at Feyenoord before leaving in 2019 and going on to spend almost a year in China with Guangzhou City.

Kuyt is now eager to see his friend follow in the footsteps of another former team-mate in Steven Gerrard.

He added to The Nine: “I think for Gio it’s a great opportunity, because after Feyenoord - and a very successful period when he was winning the league for the first time in 18 years and also managing to win the cup and the Super Cup - he went for an experience in China.

“When he came back it was actually very difficult to go to a team in Holland, so I think this is the perfect next step for him.

“I’m really looking forward to seeing how he will do.

“Steven Gerrard, a good friend of mine, did a great job and hopefully van Bronckhorst will be as successful.”