Netherlands boss Frank de Boer says Virgil van Dijk’s inclusion in the national team squad for Euro 2020 will be down to the player.
Van Dijk has been urged to forget about the delayed European Championships and focus on regaining his fitness for Liverpool. However, Dutch chief De Boer says he will leave the decision down to the defender whether he returns in time for the month-long tournament. Van Dijk has been sidelined since mid-October after rupturing the anterior cruciate ligament in his right knee against Everton.
The former Southampton man underwent surgery and has now returned to training, albeit on his own for now. He has been pictured running and De Boer is happy to see Van Dijk on the “right track” ahead of start of the Euros on June 11.
“I have spoken to him, he is going to the field. There can be all kinds of setbacks. A week or two of setbacks could mean he can’t play games for Liverpool,” de Boer said.
“Then I can imagine that they say: ‘Nice, but you can focus on next season.’ Ultimately, he must have a good feeling himself. I’m glad he’s on the right track.
“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.”
Klopp is secretly reluctant to seen Van Dijk thrown into this summer’s tournament and last month the Daily Mirror claimed that Klopp and his medical were in fact ‘horrified’ at the prospect of him doing so.
Klopp said last month: “It is not my decision but to be honest the information I have at the moment is that it will be unlikely.
“So [it’s] not that I don’t let them go, because I don’t want to have to do that anyway, it is because of the extent of the injuries.”
Boulahrouz: Van Dijk should forget Euros
And Klopp has a surprising ally in his corner in the form of former Netherlands international Khalid Boulahrouz.
“I don’t think he should be preoccupied with the European Championships,” he told Ziggo Sport.
“He shouldn’t put that pressure on himself. His career lasts longer than the tournament. Sure, such a tournament is great, but he still has many beautiful things to do in his career.
“He first has to go and see: okay, will I be able to get fit in time? And how far along am I when I can get back on the pitch?
“Then he has to see if it’s worth considering. But I wouldn’t be thinking about the European Championships.”