Netherlands not counting on Liverpool defender Virgil van Dijk being fit for Euros

Dutch manager De Boer says injured captain is recovering well from knee surgery but warns of 'all kinds of setbacks' that could easily stall progress

Netherlands manager Frank de Boer has said that he was not counting on captain Virgil van Dijk being ready for this year’s European Championships.

Van Dijk had surgery on a serious knee injury in October and earlier this week his Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp said he thought June's tournament would likely come too early for the centre-back.

The reigning Premier League champions have suffered an injury nightmare this season, with England captain Jordan Henderson last month undergoing surgery on a groin injury joining Van Dijk, Joe Gomez and Joel Matip in the treatment room.

Any idea that Van Dijk could be ahead of schedule and looking good for the Netherland's Euro matches against Ukraine, Austria and North Macedonia were shot down by Klopp.

“I can understand they don’t want to put any pressure on Virgil at all and neither do we,” said De Boer at a news conference on Tuesday when reporters asked him to react to Klopp’s assertion.

“His recovery is going according to plan. We know he has eight weeks left. I don't know if that's enough for him to be ready for the Euros.

“I have spoken to him, he’ll soon be returning to training, but there can be all kinds of setbacks. A week or two of setbacks could mean he cannot play any games for Liverpool still this season.

“Then I can imagine that they would say: ‘OK, you just focus on next season’. Ultimately, he must have a good feeling himself but I'm glad he's on the right track.

“Anything he can contribute to Liverpool and possibly us would be a bonus. I'm not counting on it right now. But if it did happen, it would be fantastic for the national team.”

De Boer, whose team begin their World Cup qualifying away against Turkey on Wednesday, said he would be putting no pressure on Van Dijk to play in the Euros.

“He must do it himself and must have confidence in it himself. The choice lies with him. When the moment comes and we know how he is doing, then I have to make a decision about it. But now let him work on his recovery in peace. It is going well."

Last week, Klopp had said he did think Van Dijk or the Reds' England defender Gomez would be fit for the Euros.

“It is not my decision but to be honest the information I have at the moment is that it will be unlikely," said the German.

"So it’s not that I don’t let them go, because I don’t want to have to do that anyway, it is because of the extent of the injuries.

“We all hope they will be ready to start pre-season with us, that’s what we all hope. These are really serious injuries and it is now not about talking about which competition they play.

“I am always open for positive surprises and they all of a sudden turn up in team training – but no one told me that.

“We will be completely over the moon when they are ready to train with us for the start of pre-season but the Euros, I didn’t think about it."