Dutch boss to leave Euro call to Virgil van Dijk – hoping for “giant steps”

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Netherlands boss Frank de Boer will leave the decision over whether Virgil van Dijk goes to the Euros to the player himself, hoping he makes “giant steps” in his recovery.

With just over a month until the Netherlands kick off their Euros campaign against Ukraine, Van Dijk is yet to return to full training with Liverpool.

There is now no chance Van Dijk will feature for the Reds in any capacity before the end of the season, and his chances of making the tournament with his national team are increasingly slim.

It had initially been hoped that the centre-back would get some minutes in by May, but with under two weeks left of the domestic season and the Liverpool under-23s wrapping up theirs on Monday night, that is now impossible.

Given Van Dijk will require weeks in training before he could be close to fully fit, time is running out as De Boer seeks a decision over his involvement at the Euros.

The Netherlands manager has told ESPN that Van Dijk will make the call over his spot in the squad, accepting it will be a “dilemma” for the 29-year-old.

“I think he has to decide, it is his career,” De Boer said.

“I can imagine that he is in a dilemma: ‘can I mean something for the Oranje?’. I hope he has made giant steps in his rehabilitation.”

Virgil van Dijk of Holland during the UEFA EURO 2020 qualifier group C qualifying match between Estonia and The Netherlands at A. Le Coq Arena on September 09, 2019 in Tallinn, Estonia

That De Boer is hoping for “giant steps” from Van Dijk as he works his way back may be an indication of his level of optimism.

The defender has been pictured on a number of occasions working outside at Kirkby, including dynamic running exercises and work with the ball, but the fact he is still not part of team training is a big red flag.

De Boer’s comments reflect those of Jurgen Klopp earlier this month, with the decision clearly set to be a close call that will depend on how much Van Dijk trusts his body.

“We speak about the player and his career. Nobody should force that and nobody will; not Holland, not us or Virgil as well,” Klopp said.

“He just tries to get fit as quickly as possible.

“In the moment nobody knows when that will be exactly, but you can imagine it will be, for sure, very, very tight with the Euros and team training and stuff like this.

“He’s not in team training yet and will not be in the next weeks, so I don’t know.

“But in the end, it’s the decision of Virgil and he will get massively influenced by the feeling in his knee.”

The Netherlands play Ukraine in Amsterdam on June 13, before taking on Austria on June 17 and North Macedonia on June 21.

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