LIVERPOOL, England (AP) — Liverpool manager Jürgen Klopp dampened hopes of Virgil van Dijk playing for the Netherlands at the European Championship, saying it will be “very, very tight” whether the defender can be fit in time.
The Dutch center back posted a video of himself doing some light jogging, prompting questions of Klopp about Van Dijk’s potential readiness for Euro 2020 which kicks off on June 11 in Rome.
“If you want to play a tournament, you have to train before, proper football training, weeks before — not a week before,” Klopp said.
Van Dijk has been rehabilitating his surgically repaired right knee since late October. His anterior cruciate ligament was damaged in a reckless challenge by Everton goalkeeper Jordan Pickford in an English Premier League game on Oct. 17.
Van Dijk does straight-line jogging in the video posted on Thursday on his social media accounts.
Klopp, speaking ahead of Liverpool’s game at Manchester United on Sunday, said only Van Dijk can ultimately answer the question of whether he’ll be ready in six weeks.
“He just tries to get fit as quick as possible,” Klopp said. “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 the team training and stuff like this because 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 a decision of Virgil and he will get massively influenced by the feeling in his knee.”
Klopp pledged not to stand in Van Dijk’s way.
“Nobody holds him back, I can promise all the people in Holland or wherever, but we cannot force it as well, and we will not. We speak about a player and his career. Nobody should force that, and nobody will — not Holland, not us, and Virgil as well.”
More AP soccer: https://apnews.com/hub/soccer and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports
Copyright © 2021 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, written or redistributed.