Virgil van Dijk is unlikely to return to play until next season, according to Netherlands manager Frank de Boer, who will not place pressure on the defender to be ready for Euro 2020.

Van Dijk has been out of action after rupturing his anterior cruciate ligament against Everton in the Merseyside derby in October.

The 29-year-old returned to individual training last month, but Klopp stressed last week that he does not expect him to compete in the rescheduled European Championship finals this year.

However, De Boer, who took over as Ronald Koeman’s replacement in September, claims that the ultimate decision would be taken by the player himself closer to the tournament.

“Anything he might bring to Liverpool and hopefully to us will be a bonus,” De Boer said at a press conference on Tuesday.

“I’m not betting on that right now. However, if this were to happen, it would be awesome for the team. We’ll have to wait and see. I’m not placing that kind of pressure on him.

He must do so alone and must have faith in himself. He has the final say. You go with him to see what he can do when the time comes and we see how he is going.

Then I’ll have to make a decision. We’ve told him to take it easy for the time being and focus on his recovery. Things are looking up now. We don’t yet know if it would be enough.

He’s still on the ground. There could be hiccups. And setbacks can prevent him from playing for Liverpool. Then I hear them saying something like, ‘focus on next season.'”

The Netherlands begins their World Cup 2022 qualifying campaign in Turkey on Wednesday, hoping to stretch a five-game unbeaten streak after finishing 2020 on a high note.

De Boer controversially left out in-form Wolfsburg striker Wout Weghorst from his team for the match against Turkey, as well as qualifiers against Latvia and Gibraltar.

Weghorst has 17 Bundesliga goals this season, behind only Andre Silva (21 goals), Erling Haaland (21 goals), and Robert Lewandowski (25) in the scoring charts.

However, De Boer has defended his decision to leave out the 28-year-old in favor of Sevilla striker Luuk de Jong, who has four goals in 25 LaLiga appearances in 2020-21.


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