Virgil van Dijk has officially pulled out of the European Championships leaving Netherlands without their captain for the tournament. It is a big blow for Oranje but Frank de Boer does have options to replace the Liverpool star in the centre of defence. Michael Bell picks the candidates that could partner Matthijs de Ligt at Euro 2020.

Stefan de Vrij

The most likely candidate to replace Van Dijk in the Netherlands backline is Stefan de Vrij, who heads into the tournament on the back of winning Serie A with Inter Milan.

The 29-year-old is considered to be one of the best centre-back’s in Europe at the moment but has been a backup in Oranje due to De Ligt and Van Dijk. However, he has previous tournament experience at the 2014 World Cup and should add to his 43 Netherlands caps. De Vrij is certainly a worthy successor to Van Dijk and this is his chance to shine.

Nathan Ake

Another centre-back heading into the Euro’s as a league champion is Nathan Ake, who recently sealed the Premier League title with Manchester City. It has been a frustrating campaign for the 26-year-old, who has suffered injuries, limiting him to only nine appearances in the league.

The 19-time international is a fantastic centre-back, who could do an excellent job for the Netherlands during the European Championships. He also offers De Boer some versatility as he can also be deployed at left-back. At the moment, he is likely to be first reserve behind De Vrij.

Daley Blind

Blind is in a race against time to be fit for the European Championships after suffering an injury during Netherlands win over Gibraltar earlier in the year. The Ajax star is ahead of schedule, according to De Boer, and could be named in the squad.

Blind was centre-back during the most recent internationals in the absence of both Ake and De Vrij, and he is more at ease in the position, having played there for Ajax over the past three seasons. The 31-year-old, who has 77 caps, can also be deployed in midfield or at left-back, making him very important to De Boer.

Joel Veltman

Comfortable on the right of defence or in the centre, Veltman is almost certain to be in the squad because of his versatility and experience.

Veltman has had a good first season in England with Brighton and has 27 caps to his name already. He is a steady option for Oranje and could come into the defence, should De Boer opt to go 5-3-2 at any stage during the tournament. Veltman is unlikely to start in a back four but he is a good option to have around.

Jeremiah St Juste

The Mainz 05 centre-back was a surprise call-up for De Boer during the last international period and he could earn a spot in the squad.

St Juste has had a good campaign with Mainz, despite their struggles near the bottom of the table, and he recently recorded the quickest speed of any player in the Bundesliga this season. Quick, agile, strong and good on the ball, St Juste is certainly an interesting option for De Boer.

Sven Botman

Sven Botman was linked to Liverpool as a possible replacement for Van Dijk when he suffered his injury and the youngster could also step into the Netherlands squad as well. The 21-year-old has had an excellent season for Lille, who are close to winning the Ligue 1 title, and his stock is rising around Europe.

The former Ajax and Heerenveen defender has been called into the Netherlands squad before by De Boer, but he has not made his debut. He was left out last time around because he dropped into the U21 squad for the European Championships, and it remains to be seen whether he will once again be selected for Jong Oranje instead of the full squad.

Jurrien Timber

A revelation for Ajax in recent months, Jurrien Timber has now been pushed forward as a candidate for the Dutch national team. The 19-year-old has ousted Perr Schurrs from the starting line-up in Amsterdam and he has been very impressive for the Eredivisie champions.

Strong, quick and good on the ball, Timber is one of the most promising young Dutch defenders breaking through and De Boer could do a lot worse than giving him a chance at the Euro’s. He is more likely to be part of the U21 squad, though.

Pascal Struijk

After impressing for Leeds United in the Premier League, Struijk is currently in an international tug of war between the Netherlands and Belgium. The former Ajax youngster is said to prefer the Netherlands but if they don’t make a move then Belgium could swoop in.

Struijk wants to be at the Euro’s and he turned down an invitation from the Netherlands U21’s as he keeps his options open for now. The 21-year-old is a talent but it remains to be seen whether he is on De Boer’s radar.

Jordan Teze

An outside option to make the squad would be PSV Eindhoven defender Jordan Teze, who has had an impressing campaign in the Eredivisie.

The right-back turned central defender is strong in the tackle and good in the air, but has so far only been named in the U21 squad. It appears unlikely at the moment that he would be heading to the European Championships, but De Boer may spring a surprise. Teze is definitely a future international but he may have to wait for now.

Frank de Boer names his provisional Netherlands squad on Monday. Who do you think will be included?

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