Frank de Boer "said bad words" upon seeing Virgil van Dijk suffer a serious injury in action for Liverpool, though he is far more relaxed about Donny van de Beek's situation at Manchester United.

Van Dijk is likely to be out for the rest of the season after sustaining significant damage to his anterior cruciate ligament in last month's Merseyside derby.

The 29-year-old centre-back was on the wrong end of a dreadful challenge from Everton goalkeeper Jordan Pickford, who remarkably avoided a red card.

Of course, Van Dijk's absence does not only impact Liverpool, it also affects the Netherlands, who could ultimately be without him for next year's delayed European Championship.

"I saw it live. I was shocked. I said some bad words," De Boer said on Tuesday ahead of a friendly against Spain on Wednesday.

"It was a shock, because he's such an important player, our captain, and he's so important in our squad. We will miss him."

De Boer was less concerned about the position Van de Beek finds himself in at United, however.

The midfielder, a pre-season arrival from Ajax, has been a bit-part player for Ole Gunnar Solskjaer this term, making only four starts across all competitions – none of those have been in the Premier League, in which he has seen just 75 minutes of action.

De Boer acknowledged that the player has reason for frustration but urged patience.

When asked if he wanted to give the 23-year-old a sympathetic hug, De Boer said: "I can't hug him right now of course! I try to give him as much confidence as possible, which I showed by starting him against Italy.

"I think he did well in the games he played, I saw him a few times at United. He's doing well, but they have a great midfield with [Bruno] Fernandes, [Paul] Pogba, Fred, [Scott] McTominay and [Nemanja] Matic.

"It's difficult, but I'm sure he will play his minutes. I can understand he wants to feature more frequently, but on the other hand, it's always normal that you have to adapt when you go to a new league.

"Let's hope he will get his playing time. I am happy that he's well-rested. We can use him here."

After the international break, Van de Beek will likely target Pogba's position in the United team.

The Frenchman has created just two goalscoring chances in the Premier League this term, only one more than Van de Beek despite playing 298 more minutes than him.

Pogba also has no goals in the top flight – Van de Beek netted his first for the club against Crystal Palace.

Borussia Dortmund rising star Jude Bellingham has been called up to the England squad for the first time.

The 17-year-old has been brought into Gareth Southgate's set-up after injuries to Liverpool's Trent Alexander-Arnold and Southampton midfielder James Ward-Prowse.

Bellingham was initially in the Under-21 squad but will now link up with the senior side ahead of matches with the Republic of Ireland, Belgium and Iceland.

Manchester United forward Marcus Rashford will report for duty on Thursday for further assessment on an injury sustained in the 3-1 win over Everton last Saturday.

Bellingham has impressed in his first season in the Bundesliga since joining from Birmingham City last year.

The midfielder has registered one assist in his six league appearances in 2020-21 but ranks highly compared to other players under the age of 18 in Europe's top-five leagues this term.

He has attempted more passes (292) than any player within that age range and has a completion rate of 86 per cent, which puts him second.

Bellingham has quickly taken to Lucien Favre's high-pressing, attacking style at Dortmund. He is fourth for dribble success rate (58.3 per cent) among players under 18 to attempt at least 10, while he has made more tackles (12) than any other.

If Bellingham makes his debut during the next three matches, he would become the third-youngest player to make a senior appearance for England, behind Wayne Rooney and Theo Walcott.

England face the Republic of Ireland in a friendly at Wembley on Thursday before facing Belgium in the Nations League on Sunday in Leuven.

The Three Lions are then due to host Iceland in their finals Nations League match next Wednesday, although the game could reportedly be staged in Albania or Germany because of travel restrictions caused by the coronavirus pandemic.

Iceland play Denmark in Copenhagen on Wednesday 15, which poses problems due to a UK ban on foreign visitors travelling from the country, where there are concerns around a new strain of the virus passing from mink to humans.

Bayern Munich and Germany captain Manuel Neuer hopes there will never be another season like this one as the coronavirus pandemic puts a strain on players.

Neuer, who is in the Germany squad for matches against Czech Republic, Ukraine and Spain, has already racked up 12 appearances for Bayern and two for the national team in 2020-21 as part of a packed fixture list.

Training with his team-mates is now very different to before and the 34-year-old, while reluctant to complain, cannot wait for normality to return.

"There has never been a season like this and hopefully there never will be again," he said to Sport Buzzer.

"Everyone involved knows that there is a lot at the moment. That is why communication with one another is all the more important - with the coaches, the doctors and physios and the players.

"Certain training types are currently no longer possible. We do recovery after the game, then a bit of tactics work, some final training, and then the next game is on. 

"Small tournaments, forms of play and one-to-one training no longer takes place. 

"We as players shouldn't complain, even if we have reached the limit. 

"We are allowed to play - unlike many others - and are very happy about it; you just have to look at the amateur footballers or take a look at other sports."

Neuer added he has enjoyed alternative individual training methods like a fitness mirror he uses at home.

The goalkeeper was saddened to see Joshua Kimmich suffer a knee injury in Bayern's 3-2 win over Borussia Dortmund, though relieved the problem will only keep his club and international team-mate out until January after successful surgery.

Asked if the strain of the fixture list may have contributed to Kimmich going down, Neuer added: "Such injuries can always happen. 

"It also existed before corona and will also exist when fewer games are on the schedule. 

"The injury for Jo hurts us, of course - at Bayern and Germany - but we know him and know how motivated, conscientious and ambitious he is. 

"So I'm absolutely certain that he will come back in his old strength in January. That's the plan."

Monaco full-back Ruben Aguilar has earned his first call-up to the France squad for their upcoming triple-header.

It marks the end of the 27-year-old's long wait for an international selection…Or at least a first legitimate selection.

Aguilar, who was born in France to a French mother and Spanish father, claimed in 2017 that he had been put in the awkward position of fielding a seemingly nonsensical attempt by Bolivia to persuade him to represent La Verde.

He surmised it to have been a consequence of an error in the database of the Football Manager video game, which he said gave him French-Bolivian dual nationality.

Following good performances with Montpellier at the time, Aguilar received significant attention from Bolivians on social media and even became a topic on TV, with interview requests coming in from the South American nation.

Aguilar had no genuine connection to Bolivia and it proved to be just as well – he could make his first appearance at any level of international football for the defending world champions.

France face Finland in a friendly on Wednesday, before Nations League clashes with Portugal and Sweden.

Aguilar fills the squad place vacated earlier on Monday by Houssem Aouar, who sustained an injury for Lyon at the weekend.

Spain defender Hector Bellerin struggled to accept being out of international football for such a long time.

The Arsenal right-back was called up to Spain's squad for the first time in four years after Sevilla's Jesus Navas was ruled out through injury.

He won the last of his three caps for La Roja in a friendly against Georgia in July 2016 and, although he made Spain's squad for Euro 2016, he did not feature at the tournament.

Bellerin, however, was given a recall by coach Luis Enrique for his side's friendly with the Netherlands plus the Nations League fixtures against Switzerland and Germany.

The 25-year-old has been one of Arsenal's most consistent performers this season and played every minute of their eight Premier League games.

He has made 12 interceptions and eight tackles with a success rate of 88 per cent in those matches, helping the Gunners to keep two clean sheets.

"Yes, I am so happy getting back home. It has been almost five years since the last time, so I am very happy," Bellerin said in an interview with the Royal Spanish Football Federation.

"They have been tough years, and they always are when you cannot join the national team, but I am very proud and happy now. I can't wait to start."

Another player thrilled to be recalled by Luis Enrique after a break is Atletico Madrid midfielder Koke, who last featured for Spain just over two years ago.

Koke, 28, has not featured for Spain since a 4-1 friendly defeat of Wales in October 2018.

"I am very happy to be here again with the national team," Koke explained.

"It has been a long time, but I do have the same excitement that I had on my first day and I am looking forward to helping the team win the games."

Spain are top of Nations League Group A4 with seven points but saw their 13-game unbeaten run (W10 D3) in competitive matches ended last time out with a surprise 1-0 loss to Ukraine.

Left-back Jose Luis Gaya has warned his team-mates not to let any complacency seep into their forthcoming performances.

"It is true we are still first, and that gives us a little advantage. But we know how football is and everything can happen," added the Valencia defender.

"We need to try on winning all the games, that's what this jersey demands.

"Therefore, we cannot get relaxed and we have to face two official games plus the friendly one as they were finals."

Thorgan Hazard is unimpressed by the intense schedule players are facing in the 2020-21season ahead of Belgium's upcoming international triple-header.

The 27-year-old winger is in the Red Devils' squad for the friendly with Switzerland and Nations League matches against England and Denmark, all of which are in the next nine days.

Hazard has only played 135 minutes of Bundesliga football this season due to a ruptured thigh muscle ruling him out for around a month.

But the busy schedule of elite players – particularly those whose clubs have qualified for continental football – is not lost on him.

UEFA has received significant flak for its part in the increasingly busy calendar, as it opted to turn the October and November international breaks into three-match periods instead of sticking with the usual two games, a move it says was made to recover the dates postponed in March due to the coronavirus pandemic.

"It's all too much, not just for me," Hazard told reporters on Monday. "Champions League, Bundesliga, Nations League…I don't want to complain too much because we have to do our job, but it is a lot.

"Well, here at the Red Devils, everyone will get playing time. The national coach has selected many players. Playing them in all three matches for 90 minutes would be difficult.

"The players will not burn themselves out. Our coaches also ask us to be careful, not to risk too much.

"We also play with Dortmund every three days. It is a difficult issue – the national coaches also have to do their job. If we don't feel well, let's just say so."

Belgium have already lost three players to injury on Monday, with Leandro Trossard, Alexis Saelemaekers and Hendrik van Crombrugge pulling out – only the latter has been replaced, with Blackburn Rovers goalkeeper Thomas Kaminski called up.

Hazard's brother Eden was already ruled out having recently tested positive for coronavirus, meaning the Real Madrid winger will have gone more than a year without playing for Belgium by the time of his next cap.

"One year is indeed a long time," Thorgan Hazard said of his older brother's absence. "I hope this will be over soon. Both Belgium and Madrid miss Eden.

"He is one of the best players in the world and it is always better to have him in your squad. Madrid lost last weekend without him and the Red Devils were also defeated in England. We all need an Eden at 100 per cent.

"Nevertheless, he feels good. He is in good health and shows no symptoms [of COVID-19]. He is quarantined at home in Madrid and unfortunately he is not here.

"It was really a surprise for him, an unpleasant one. The injury was gone and then coronavirus was showing up. I really hope that next time there is not something again.

"He's really unlucky. These are another two weeks gone. What can he do about it? Nothing."

France coach Didier Deschamps has suggested Paul Pogba is not satisfied with his "situation" at Manchester United after struggling to find his best form.

Pogba has played 11 times for United in all competitions this season, but only five of them were as a starter and three of those were defeats, including the 6-1 humiliation by Tottenham.

He has only had a hand in three goals as well (one scored, two set up) in that time, though the criticism of his performances runs deeper than goal involvements.

Pogba's general influence on United's play in the attacking third, where he would be considered at his most threatening, has been minimal, the Frenchman creating just two chances in the Premier League.

By comparison, Bruno Fernandes has laid on 10 times as many, just one shy of Mohamed Salah's league-high 21.

Deschamps claims Pogba cannot he happy with life at United but suggested only he can help himself.

"I have no advice," said Deschamps ahead of France's friendly with Finland on Wednesday. "I know him well and he knows the group well.

"He's in a situation with his club where he can't be happy and satisfied with his playing time or his positioning.

"He had concerns, like the COVID-19 which hit him quite hard. He needs to find some rhythm. He has been playing since, but we can't help him be fulfilled in what he does."

Pogba is by no means the only player in Deschamps' squad going through a tricky period – Raphael Varane is as well.

The centre-back endured a miserable match in Real Madrid's 4-1 defeat to Valencia on Sunday, scoring an own goal, but Deschamps defended him.

"The players are in a series of matches every three days," he said. "I know what he is capable of, same with [Presnel] Kimpembe. You all told me he matured, and he proved it in the last game with us.

"And there, the last match he just played, it went less well and you forget everything he did well? You've seen the matches, the Champions League, the league... The intensity is no longer there.

"They've been doing that [playing every three days] for the last three weeks and it inevitably leads to less physical intensity, more injuries... And that's valid for all players."

Deschamps also confirmed Houssem Aouar, an injury replacement for Nabil Fekir, has had to pull out due to an issue of his own – a replacement will not be called up.

France face Portugal and Sweden in a Nations League double-header after the meeting with Finland.

Barcelona have confirmed Ansu Fati will be out for approximately four months after surgery on a tear to the internal meniscus of his left knee.

The 18-year-old was forced off at the halfway point of Barca's 5-2 win over Real Betis on Saturday, with the club later revealing the extent of the damage he suffered.

A Barca statement confirmed Fati was to be operated on by knee specialist Dr. Ramon Cugat, and the surgery was completed on Monday.

Following the completion of the procedure, the Catalans communicated that they expect the youngster to be out until March.

"The first-team player Ansu Fati has been operated on successfully by Dr. Ramon Cugat for the injury to the internal meniscus of his left knee under the supervision of the club's medical staff. The player will be out for approximately four months," a statement read.

At the time of the injury, Fati was joint-second top-scorer in LaLiga with four goals, while none of his Barca team-mates had netted more.

A regular squad member last season following an explosive introduction to top-flight football as a 16-year-old under Ernesto Valverde, Fati had seemingly taken on a role of greater prominence and importance in 2020-21.

New coach Ronald Koeman had essentially made Fati an automatic pick for his starting XI, the player beginning all seven of their LaLiga games this term.

Only Lionel Messi (48) has attempted more dribbles in LaLiga for Barca in 2020-21 than Fati (28), while the club captain is the solitary Blaugrana player to create more chances (13) than his team-mate's return of nine.

Fati had been called up to the Spain squad for this month's international matches against the Netherlands, Switzerland and Germany.

Germany coach Joachim Low has ruled out international recalls for experienced Bayern Munich duo Thomas Muller and Jerome Boateng plus Borussia Dortmund's Mats Hummels.

Low sent the three players into the international wilderness in March 2019 as he looked to build towards the future after Germany flopped at the 2018 World Cup.

Attacking midfielder Muller (100 caps), and defenders Boateng (76 caps) and Hummels (70 caps) boast 246 appearances for Germany between them and were all in the team that won the World Cup in 2014, but the trio are all over the age of 30.

Germany have qualified for Euro 2020 but their defence in particular has been shaky in recent games, shipping seven goals in their last three matches, leading to calls for Boateng and Hummels to be reconsidered.

However, Low has stated he will resist the urge to bring any of the trio back into the fold unless it was an emergency situation.

"We basically decided not to pick these players, nothing has changed that now," Low told Kicker.

"We can't go back now. They are great players with class.

"If a completely new situation arises for us next year due to the failure of key players, I will evaluate it accordingly and think about alternative scenarios." 

The manner in which three popular players, who are still integral to their club sides, have been jettisoned has helped fuel a growing discord between Germany's fans and the national team setup.

Oliver Bierhoff, the national team director of the German Football Association, has urged the country to unite and get behind Die Mannschaft again.

Germany host the Czech Republic in a friendly fixture on Wednesday before Nations League clashes against Ukraine and Spain.

"It hurts the way the young players are dealt with. A dark cloud is falling over the national team," ex-Germany striker Bierhoff said at a news conference on Monday.

"I am not interested in the criticism, but in the tonality and the mood that is conveyed in.

"We are no longer Germany's favourite child but the national team is still Germany's most important football team. Support and a positive spirit would help the boys."

Bierhoff claimed representing Germany is still important, and despite some star players earning vast salaries at club level they still sense when supporters of the national team are not behind them.

He added: "You have to be honest - when it comes to money and fame none of the players really need the national team.

"The boys earn a lot of money, but they are also people. It hurts that we no longer support and honour them. The boys really deserve our trust. The players want to be closer to the fans."

Alessandro Bastoni, Gian Marco Ferrari and Mattia Zaccagni have been added to Italy's squad for their upcoming triple-header of fixtures.

Centre-backs Bastoni and Ferrari will provide cover for Angelo Ogbonna and Alessio Romagnoli, who both picked up injuries for their club sides over the weekend.

Bastoni was initially named as part of the Under-21s squad but has now linked up with the senior group ahead of Wednesday's friendly with Estonia.

It is the Inter defender's second call-up, having also been included for August's fixtures, while Hellas Verona midfielder Zaccagni is named in the senior squad for the first time.

Zaccagni impressed in Sunday's 2-2 draw with Milan at San Siro, with no Verona player managing more touches (57), completing more passes (23) or contesting more duels (18).

Ferrari, yet to be capped for Italy, will arrive at the Coverciano training centre on Tuesday once he and his Sassuolo team-mates have completed a period of isolation.

The Azzurri are awaiting permission from the relevant health authorities over the availability of 16 of their players due to coronavirus travel restrictions.

Roberto Mancini last week tested positive for COVID-19 and will reportedly not be in the dugout against Estonia, which comes ahead of Nations League clashes with Poland and Bosnia-Herzegovina.

He named a bumper 41-man squad last week that included uncapped attacker Pietro Pellegri after two years away, while Davide Calabria and Matteo Pessina have also been called up for the first time.

Italy enter their latest batch of fixtures unbeaten in 16 successive games, their second-longest run after going 17 without a loss between June 1997 and June 1999.

Miralem Pjanic has claimed he was offered the chance to represent France but it would have broken his heart to turn his back on Bosnia-Herzegovina.

The Barcelona midfielder was born in Tuzla, in what was then Yugoslavia, before his family moved to Luxembourg shortly after the outbreak of the Bosnian War.

Pjanic represented Luxembourg's national youth teams during his formative years and signed for Metz at 14, later turning out for Lyon.

And it was while he was playing in Ligue 1 that he was telephoned by then France head coach Raymond Domenech about the prospect of declaring himself available for Les Bleus.

“Yes, I could have played for the France team when I arrived in Lyon, but I said a few days before that my dream was Bosnia," Pjanic, 30, told Canal Plus.

"Domenech called me, but I had already made up my mind. I thanked him of course, but I preferred to be realistic.

"For me, the France team, it was too much [to break into] at that time. And it would have hurt my heart if, on the other side, Bosnia was watching one of its own playing for the France team."

Pjanic, who joined Barca from Juventus in June, is currently preparing for Bosnia-Herzegovina's international friendly against Iran before Nations League matches against Netherlands and Italy.

Ansu Fati is to undergo surgery on the torn meniscus he suffered in Barcelona's 5-2 win over Real Betis. 

The teenage forward was substituted at half-time in Saturday's contest at Camp Nou, Barca later confirming the damage sustained to his left knee. 

Fati is now set to have an operation on Monday, after which Barca said they will release further details about the possible length of his absence. 

A club statement read: "The first team player Ansu Fati will undergo surgery [on] Monday for the injury to the meniscus in his left knee by Dr. Ramon Cugat under the supervision of the Club's medical services.  

"Once this intervention is completed, a new communication will be provided with information on the result and the approximate time of withdrawal." 

Fati is Barca's top scorer in LaLiga so far this term having notched four in seven appearances, while he was also on target in the 5-1 hammering of Ferencvaros in the Champions League.

His form has been a bright point in an inconsistent start Barca have made under Ronald Koeman, who had seen his side fail to win four on the bounce in LaLiga prior to the Betis win.

Only Lionel Messi (48) has attempted more dribbles in LaLiga for Barca in 2020-21than Fati (28), while the club captain is the only Blaugrana player to create more chances (13) than his team-mate's return of nine.

Fati had been called up to the Spain squad for this month's international matches against the Netherlands, Switzerland and Germany.

Hector Bellerin and Marco Asensio have been called into Spain's squad for this month's international fixtures as injury replacements.

Arsenal right-back Bellerin earns a first call-up for four years after Sevilla captain Jesus Navas was substituted due to an injury at half-time during his club's 1-0 win over Osasuna.

Luis Enrique's side face a friendly against the Netherlands before Nations League matches against Switzerland and Germany.

Real Madrid attacker Asensio comes into the reckoning in place of Barcelona teenager Ansu Fati.

Like Navas, Fati only managed the first 45 matches of a LaLiga match at the weekend, making way for Lionel Messi in Barcelona's 5-2 triumph over Real Betis.

The Catalan giants later confirmed the forward has suffered a torn meniscus in his left knee, with a decision over treatment options to be made over the coming days.

England boss Gareth Southgate says Aaron Wan-Bissaka is not in his squad as he remains a step behind his rivals for a right-back spot.

The Three Lions are blessed with options in the position and the latest squad includes Trent Alexander-Arnold, Kieran Trippier, Kyle Walker and Reece James, as well as Arsenal duo Ainsley Maitland-Niles and Bukayo Saka, who can play as wing-backs.

Wan-Bissaka has impressed defensively since joining Manchester United from Crystal Palace for a reported £50million last year. In 2019-20, he won 80 tackles in the Premier League, 11 more than any other defender, and was only dribbled past by an opponent on 22 occasions.

By contrast, Alexander-Arnold was beaten 42 times by an opponent dribbling past him last season, but the Liverpool man's record-breaking 13 assists - the most by any defender in a Premier League season - underline the attacking qualities that Southgate favours.

To that end, Chelsea's James was included for this month's matches with the Republic of Ireland, Belgium and Iceland despite having to serve a one-match suspension in the Nations League.

"It's an area of the pitch where we are blessed," Southgate said. "Reece and Trent have both played as wing-backs as well as full-backs. They are in outstanding form and we are probably stronger there than in any other position.

"Aaron is a very good defender, one against one he's probably as good as I have seen, but I have to look at the balance of the team and currently there are players ahead of him."

Southgate also suggested he could speak to Jamie Vardy if the Leicester City striker continues his form until next year's Euro 2020 finals.

Vardy, 33, has scored seven goals this season to propel a strong Leicester start that included a 5-2 victory over Manchester City at the Etihad Stadium, where he got a hat-trick.

He retired from England duty after the World Cup in 2018 but said in March that he and Southgate "agreed the door would still be open for whatever reason" to a national team return.

"Jamie is playing as well as any forward in the country, there's no two ways about that," Southgate said. "We know exactly what he can bring, and he is probably benefiting from having a rest during international breaks rather than joining up with England.

"It would be another matter if we were going into a championship, but at the moment we are not."

Barcelona have confirmed forward Ansu Fati has suffered a torn meniscus.

The 18-year-old was substituted at half-time of Saturday's 5-2 LaLiga win over Real Betis at Camp Nou.

Spain international Fati was sent for tests, which have shown a tear in the meniscus of his left knee.

The club confirmed treatment will begin over the coming days.

Fati is Barca's top scorer in LaLiga this season with four goals in seven appearances, while he also scored in the 5-1 Champions League win over Ferencvaros.

His form in attack has been a positive during an inconsistent start to life as head coach for Ronald Koeman, whose team ended a four-game winless run in the top flight by beating Betis.

For Barca, only Lionel Messi (48) has attempted more dribbles in LaLiga in 2020-21 than Fati (28), while the Argentina star is also the only Blaugrana player to create more chances (13) than Fati (nine).

Fati had been called up to the Spain squad for this month's international matches against the Netherlands, Switzerland and Germany.

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