GINO van Kessel had no problem risking his international playing chances to ensure he was available to assist Oxford United tomorrow.

The 24-year-old was due to miss AFC Wimbledon’s visit after being called up for the Curacao national side.

But while the rest of the squad fly to Doha from Amsterdam today, ahead of Tuesday’s friendly with Qatar, Van Kessel will join up later.

Although it may impact on whether he starts for his country – for whom he has scored seven goals in 17 games – the forward did not want to miss any games for United.

“I said to the team manager ‘I’m new here and starting to play, so I really want to be here’ so I asked them if I could take a later flight,” explained Van Kessel, who scored both United’s goals in their 2-2 draw with Brighton Under 21s on Tuesday night.

“They told me they needed to think about it because the coach preferred to have me there from the first day.

“I said ‘yes, and I prefer to play the game here and come after’. They thought about it for a second time and said OK.

“This is the year I have to show myself and this is the team (Oxford) I want to play for the whole season.

“This is the ground where I need to show myself and from here you can make the next step, not from one match playing in Qatar.”

Van Kessel was part of the team which won the Caribbean Cup in June, beating Jamaica in the final.

It has helped the island nation, whose population is similar to Oxford’s, climb from 183rd in the Fifa world rankings to their present position of 86th, just ahead of Finland.

Van Kessel believes the international experience can only help his development, which benefits United.

He said: “The national team is getting better and players from bigger teams are willing to play now.

“Everybody is getting more professional.

“Everywhere you go you learn something because you meet different people.

“I’ve played at a lot of clubs and even if it was not the best club in the league, you learn something from the place and the staff.

“It’s important to listen to everybody’s opinion – you can do what you want with it, but if it makes you better then great.”

Van Kessel is not the only U’s player selected for international action this month.

Shandon Baptiste, 19, has been called up for the Grenada senior side for a friendly at home to Panama on October 24.

Canice Carroll is away with Republic of Ireland, but is suspended for tomorrow’s Under 19 European Championship qualifier at home to Azerbaijan.