Blind likely to be back for Euro 2020, says Dutch coach

FILE PHOTO: Soccer Football - Euro 2020 Qualifier - Netherlands Training - National Football Stadium at Windsor Park, Belfast, Northern Ireland, Britain - November 15, 2019 Netherlands' Daley Blind during training Action Images via Reuters/Jason Cairnduff

AMSTERDAM (Reuters) - Doctors are predicting that Netherlands defender Daley Blind will recover from injury and be ready for the European Championship, coach Frank de Boer said.

The 31-year-old was included on Friday in a provisional squad that De Boer named for the tournament despite not playing since March, when he hurt both his ankle and knee in a World Cup qualifying win over Gibraltar.

Blind had surgery to repair torn ankle ligaments, ruling him out of the rest of the Dutch league season, but is in line for a return next month.

"We assume that Daley will make it, given the forecasts of the doctors," said De Boer. "He is also positive about it. But it may be that he is only available during the tournament, if he suffers a setback."

Blind's experience could be key for the Dutch in the tournament, where they are drawn against Austria, North Macedonia and Ukraine, especially after Virgil van Dijk ruled himself out earlier in the week after deciding not to risk his recovery from a long-term knee injury.

"It is especially sad for him. He has never played a final tournament. But the European Championship is just too early for him," said De Boer.

"Let's hope we qualify for the World Cup in Qatar, so he can be there."

(Writing by Mark Gleeson in Cape Town; Editing by David Clarke)

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