Netherlands manager Frank de Boer is hopeful that Virgil van Dijk will be fit and available for the Netherlands’ Euro 2021 opener against the Ukraine on June 13.
Van Dijk is currently sidelined with no timeframe for his recovery, but is making strong progress in his rehabilitation work at Dubai’s NAS Sports Complex.
The Dutchman has been seen kicking a ball and building up his resistance training, and was joined by his legendary compatriot Clarence Seedorf for a session earlier this week.
Jurgen Klopp has been eager to downplay expectations on a possible return for Van Dijk, most recently telling reporters that “it’s very good, but still a long way to go.”
It remains to be seen whether Van Dijk will play again for Liverpool this season, but De Boer believes, after a FaceTime conversation with his captain, that the centre-back will be fit in time for the Euros.
“He is busy with so much energy,” the Netherlands manager told De Telegraaf, as translated by Sport Witness.
“If you see what he’s doing…in my time you were only allowed to kick in the swimming pool [at this point in his recovery].
“If Virgil doesn’t get a kickback and things go a little faster than expected, he should be able to make it to the European Championship opening match on June 13 against Ukraine.
“He is very important for our team, on and off the field.”
It is no surprise that De Boer is taking an optimistic view, given Van Dijk’s importance to the Netherlands, and he has less cause for caution in discussing the 29-year-old’s comeback.
Klopp will remain reserved whenever asked about the fitness of his No. 4, as it would be remiss to raise hopes of any involvement this season when it is still indeterminate.
The Liverpool manager would likely be hoping for Van Dijk to miss the Euros, however – particularly if he is not back before the end of the domestic season – as overuse at the tournament could have major ramifications.
But perhaps De Boer’s positive words are, in fact, an indicator that Van Dijk is making better progress than initially hoped with his recovery.
Much remains in the air, as De Boer noted that a “kickback” could occur at any time, but it is at least a hopeful update on the return of a player who is crucial for both club and country.