Virgil van Dijk “eight weeks” from return, but Dutch boss “not counting on him” for Euros

Virgil van Dijk “eight weeks” from return, but Dutch boss “not counting on him” for Euros

Netherlands manager Frank de Boer has responded to Jurgen Klopp‘s assertion that it is “unlikely” Virgil van Dijk will make the Euros, saying he is “not counting on him.”

Van Dijk’s fitness has been the subject of much scrutiny as he continues his rehabilitation from a long-term knee injury into the final months of the campaign.

Klopp has stressed a patient approach is required, but with the European Championship to come in the summer, certain sections of the media appear to be putting pressure on the Dutchman to make his return.

De Boer could be seen as only having Van Dijk’s short-term interests at heart, given the importance of the tournament and, realistically, the fact no Netherlands manager has lasted more than four years since Elek Schwartz between 1957 and 1964.

But speaking at a press conference on Tuesday, the 50-year-old claimed that while Van Dijk is eight weeks away from a full recovery, he is “not counting on him” for the Euros.

“We know he has eight weeks left. I don’t know if that’s enough,” De Boer explained.

“I have spoken to him, he is back on the field. There can always be setbacks. A week or two of setbacks could mean he can’t play games for Liverpool [this season].

“Then I can imagine that they say: ‘Nice and nice, but you just focus on next season’.

“Ultimately, he must have a good feeling himself. I’m glad he’s on the right track.”

Virgil van Dijk of Holland during the UEFA Nations League A group 1 qualifying match between The Netherlands and Germany at the Johan Cruijff Arena on October 13, 2018 in Amsterdam, The Netherlands (Tom Bode/VI Images/PA Images)

Virgil van Dijk of Holland during the UEFA Nations League A group 1 qualifying match between The Netherlands and Germany at the Johan Cruijff Arena on October 13, 2018 in Amsterdam, The Netherlands (Tom Bode/VI Images/PA Images)

The suggestion that Van Dijk has eight weeks left in his rehabilitation is encouraging, in that he could still make an appearance even for Liverpool before the end of the campaign.

That is still highly unlikely, however, and De Boer is right to stress that his involvement at the Euros – which begins for the Netherlands against Ukraine on June 13 – would be a “bonus.”

“Anything he can contribute to Liverpool and possibly us would be a bonus. I’m not counting on him right now,” he continued.

“But if he did [make it], it would be fantastic for the selection,

“We will see. I’m not putting any pressure on him at all. He must do it himself and must have confidence in it himself. The choice mainly lies with him.

“When the moment comes and we know how he is doing, [we will] agree with him what he can do. Then I have to make a decision about it.

“We now let him work on his recovery calmly. It is now going well. We don’t know whether that is enough.”

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