The Oranje head coach says the Liverpool star is “on the right track” with his recovery, but he can’t commit to including him in his squad yet

Netherlands boss Frank de Boer has admitted that he’s unsure whether Virgil van Dijk will be fit for the European Championships this summer.

Van Dijk has missed the majority of Liverpool’s 2020-21 campaign with a serious knee injury, and has only recently been able to return to the training pitch for light individual sessions.

De Boer was unable to select the 29-year-old for the start of the Netherlands’ 2020 World Cup qualifying campaign, and he doesn’t want to get his hopes up about the defender’s potential return for the Euros.

What’s been said?

“We know he has eight weeks left. I don’t know if that’s enough,” the Oranje head coach told a press conference. “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.”

Van Dijk’s recovery

Van Dijk suffered knee ligament damage after being floored by Jordan Pickford during Liverpool’s 2-2 draw with Everton in a Merseyside derby clash on October 17.

The centre-back underwent successful surgery on the issue and subsequently began an extensive rehabilitation programme at the Reds’ training facility in Kirkby.

He was able to get back in the gym by early December and gave Liverpool fans hope of an early comeback two months later when he posted a video on social media which showed him cycling, performing weighted squats, single-leg presses, deadlifts and glute exercises.

Former Reds physio Dave Galley was also able to deliver a positive update on Van Dijk’s progress, as he told The Echo: “He looks really good. He is in a really good mood. It’s all very promising, but I don’t know when he will be back.”

The bigger picture

Despite the fact that Van Dijk is clearly nearing the end of a long journey back to fitness, it could still be some time yet before he is ready to participate in competitive matches again.

Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp is not expecting a prized asset to return to action at club level before the end of the season, and has also insisted it is “unlikely” he will be able to take part in the Euros.

De Boer will name his final squad for the tournament on May 31, which means Van Dijk only has two months to get back to full fitness.

Reds supporters may now hope he is not risked for the international scene with a view to having him back on the pitch for the start of the 2021-22 campaign in top condition.

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