A first-team fixture at Ajax, where his career originally began, the young full-back raised his profile even further with three appearances during the 2010 FIFA World Cup™ qualifiers, winning the confidence of coach Bert van Marwijk despite a wealth of options on both flanks. He spent three years with Haarlem during his youth but returned to Ajax and turned professional in 2006, before making his Eredivisie debut aged 19 against Twente on 11 March 2007. That season yielded five league outings in total, including four as a starter, and the sought-after defender promptly extended his contract in the summer.
The 2007/08 campaign began with real promise for the then centre-back, Jaap Stam having retired from the game, but disaster struck in November when an injury brought his season to an end. He therefore had to wait until 2008/09 to truly demonstrate his potential and quickly thrived after being fielded at right-back by new coach Marco van Basten, relegating Uruguayan international Bruno Silva to the bench.
Van der Wiel represented the Netherlands at Under-21 level and participated in the 2007 Toulon Tournament, before winning his maiden senior cap in February 2009, when he came on as a substitute for John Heitinga during a friendly against Tunisia. He was then selected as a starter for the Netherlands’ 3-0 home win against Scotland in a qualifier on 28 March last year and contested the full 90 minutes against Macedonia four days later.