Andy Robertson admits missing the Euros is “obviously hard” for Virgil van Dijk, but has taken a “selfish” view when it comes to the fitness of his Liverpool team-mate.
Van Dijk is not part of the Netherlands squad for this summer’s tournament after making the decision to focus on his recovery from a long-term knee injury.
The centre-back is in line for a return in time for Liverpool’s pre-season schedule, which begins on July 12, but it would have been touch and go when it came to his involvement at the Euros.
It is the sensible decision, but still not the easiest, and Robertson reflected on this ahead of Scotland’s friendly clash with the Netherlands on Wednesday night.
“At one point it maybe looked likely that Virg would make the Euros,” he said, as reported by the Herald.
“It looked like this [friendly] would be his first game back and I would have liked nothing more than to play against him.
“I have seen the big man go through his rehab, struggling at times of course, and now coming through the other side with his smile getting bigger and bigger again.
“He feels as if he is close to fitness and close to playing again and for me being close to him it is obviously tough.”
With Van Dijk “close to playing again,” it will be tantalising to watch the Netherlands – and the eight Liverpool players at the tournament – playing at the Euros.
But Robertson echoed the feelings of Reds supporters, saying “from a selfish point of view” it was better to have the 29-year-old ready for the next campaign.
“I want my mates to do well and I want my friends to play at the biggest tournaments when they qualify.
“To see him not make it is obviously hard, but he has made the best decision for his career. He seems quite content with that decision.
“Obviously he is disappointed, but he has made the best decision for his body and that’s why he has ruled himself out.
“It’s a huge loss for Holland, but from a selfish point of view if he is fully fit and ready for next season then that obviously helps Liverpool because, for me, he is the best defender in the world and hopefully next season and in other seasons to come he will show that again.”