The Dutch head coach appreciates that the defender has a “dilemma” on his hands, but remains optimistic he will be fit for the tournament
Virgil van Dijk has to be the one to decide whether he will play at Euro 2020, according to Frank de Boer, who is still hopeful that the Liverpool defender can make his final Netherlands squad.
Van Dijk saw his 2020-21 campaign cruelly cut short after he was left with cruciate ligament knee damage following a late tackle from Jordan Pickford in a 2-2 Merseyside derby draw with Everton on October 17.
The defender underwent successful surgery after the game before starting an extensive rehabilitation programme, and although it is still not yet know when he will be fit to return, De Boer remains optimistic he will be available for the European Championship.
What’s been said?
“I think he has to decide, it is his career,” the Netherlands boss told ESPN.
“I can imagine that he is in a dilemma. Can It mean something for Oranje? I hope he has made giant steps in his rehabilitation.”
What has Klopp said about Van Dijk?
Klopp has insisted that he wants Van Dijk to participate in the Euros, but is sceptical about his chances given the fact he will have very little time to build up any match fitness.
“Virgil’s knee. I don’t want to hold him back, but you cannot force it as well,” The Reds boss said earlier this month.
“If you want to play in a tournament, you have to train beforehand, proper football training – and not a week before but weeks before.
“You can’t after 10 or 11 months out train for a week and then play football, that is just not possible. It should not be possible.
“Nobody is holding him back, I can promise all the people in Holland that. But you can’t force it, and we will not.”
The bigger picture
Van Dijk will no doubt be chomping at the bit to get back on the pitch as soon as possible, but Liverpool are unlikely to take any risks after investing so much time and effort into making sure his recovery runs smoothly.
The 29-year-old is now training on his own again, but has not yet been cleared to return to full sessions with the rest of the squad, and is not expected to feature in any of their final three Premier League games.
De Boer has plenty of other options at his disposal in the heart of the defence, and may have to explore them instead of calling upon Van Dijk, who the Reds will be desperate to make sure is fit and raring to go in time for the start of the 2021-22 campaign.