At PSV, he played as a left winger and as forward because of his quick pace and direct passing, teaming up with Arnold Bruggink and at times, with Ruud van Nistelrooy. When Arthur Numan went off to Rangers at the end of the 1999–00 season, Bouma was moved to left-back where he had to compete with Danish international Jan Heintze.
With the 2002 FIFA World Cup qualifiers entering its crucial stages, Bouma was handed his international debut for the Dutch national team against the Republic of Ireland on September 2 2000. In the Euro 2004 tournament in Portugal, he was chosen by Dick Advocaat to play as a central defender and he has also retained that spot while playing for PSV under Guus Hiddink in the 2004–05 season.
Under O'Neill, Bouma begun to flourish during the 2006–07 season - he established himself as first choice left back and went onto total 28 appearances in the claret and blue shirt. This lead to Bouma becoming a cult hero at Villa Park, most notably for his strong tackling, and determined nature in defence. This turn in form also attributed to Bouma reclaiming his place in the Dutch National Team, playing in the friendly against Russia in February 2007, the tour of Asia in June 2007 and the following UEFA Euro 2008 qualifying fixtures.
On February 9, 2008, Bouma - who was in the process of making his 76th appearance in claret and blue - netted his first goal for the club in the 48th minute of the match against Newcastle United. The deflected goal levelled the game at 1-1, before a hat-trick by teammate John Carew, wrapped up a 4-1 victory.
Upon returning from international duty for the Netherlands at Euro 2008, Bouma participated in both legs of Aston Villa's Intertoto Cup third round tie against Odense BK, however the second leg at Villa Park on 26 July, 2008 was marred by a serious ankle injury to the full-back. Bouma caught his studs on the turf as he attempted to challenge opposition forward Baye Djiby Fall. Initially, the injury looked like a horrific break, however reports later confirmed that Bouma had suffered a dislocation, an injury which unfortunately looks to keep him out until around October. Bouma's increasing importance to the Villa cause, as well as his 'cult-hero status' was noted as he was carried off early in the tie, as his plight was met by a 30,000 strong chant of support by the Villa faithful.
As of July 2008, Wilfred Bouma has played for the Netherlands 35 times, scoring twice. Bouma made his debut on September 2, 2000, in the 2-2 draw with the Republic of Ireland. Several steady appearances followed in the coming years, including 4 appearances at Euro 2004, whilst playing as a centre-back. Bouma was included in the Dutch squad for Euro 2008, and he made 2 appearances, coming on as a 78th substitute against France and playing the full 90 minutes against Romania. Bouma's only two goals at international level came within 4 months of each other, as the defender netted in the 3-2 defeat to Czech Republic in the group stage of Euro 2004. He then went onto net the opener against Macedonia in October of the same year, in a match which ended 2-2.
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