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Matthijs de Ligt has delivered a positive update on the fitness of Virgil van Dijk heading towards this summer’s European Championship, with the Netherlands international seeing his fellow centre-half “looking well” in an ongoing recovery from knee ligament damage.
A commanding Liverpool defender has been stuck on the sidelines since suffering an untimely injury in a Merseyside derby date with Everton in October 2020.
Questions have been asked of whether the 29-year-old will be ready to link up with his country for a shot at continental glory in June, but De Ligt has suggested that encouraging progress is being made in a bid to make Frank de Boer’s squad.
Juventus star De Ligt has told reporters when quizzed on Van Dijk: “We had a meeting, [Van Dijk]was there too.
“He looked very good, he seemed very fresh and free. Of course, I dont know how he feels physically, he doesnt really want to put any pressure on himself either.
“He has a clear mind and looks at it day by day. He is calm and wants to see where hes at, atmoment the Euros are starting.
“I think itsimportant for him to be calm, and to be able to recuperate from his injury without any pressure from us or from the country.
“He will decide if he will be at the Euros. If hes there, he’s there. If hesnot there, other guys will have to fill his shoes. But he looked well.”
Daley Blind lined up alongside De Ligt in a 2022 World Cup qualifying defeat to Turkey, with Inter defender Stefan de Vrij ruled out after contracting Covid-19.
There are other options for the Dutch to consider, but the hope is that Van Dijk will return to action before the end of a domestic season at Anfield.
Asked to pick out his preferred partner in the national side, De Ligt said: “Thats a question that’s not really relevant to me.
“In the end, its the manager who decides who plays, what we need. In possession, Daley is one of the best defenders I have everplayed with.
“Stefan plays in Italy, is more physical and isstronger than Daley. So it might also depend on our opponents. We also have Nathan Ake and other guys. There are enough options.
“I might not even be playing. Thatssomething the manager decides, that depends on the game. We simply have to respect the managersdecisions.”
The Netherlands are due to open their campaign at the rescheduled Euro 2020 with an outing against Ukraine in Amsterdam on June 13.