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De Jong back in training for Dutch ahead of Euro 2024

AMSTERDAM : Frenkie de Jong has returned to the training field, in a boost for the Netherlands one week before their opening game at the European Championship, coach Ronald Koeman said on Sunday.

The playmaking midfielder is seen as keen to Dutch hopes at the tournament in Germany, and he joined the rest of the squad on the pitch for the first time on Sunday after individual training over the last week.

De Jong has struggled with ankle injuries this season and not played a match since April.

"He was part of the training but we kept him away from any contact," Koeman told a press conference, ahead of Monday's final preparatory friendly against Iceland in Rotterdam.

"It is possible that Frenkie will not make it to the first match," Koeman said.

"But we can wait until the second or third game. That's a possibility. Even if he can't play the first two games, we'll stick with him. But if it looks as if he will miss the entire group stage, I might have to rethink his selection."

Any injury replacement to the 26-man squad, which was finalised on Friday, would have to be made before the Dutch play their first Group D game against Poland in Hamburg next Sunday.

On the Dutch squad fitness ahead of the tournament, Koeman said: "A number of the players had some rest towards the end of the season and came in fresh.

"There were also players who were not yet ready for a full 90 minutes, but we were able to train well.

"It is up to us to loosen the reins in time, to recover and start the first match super fit," the coach added.

(Writing by Mark Gleeson in Cape Town; Editing by Hugh Lawson)