Southampton boss Mauricio Pellegrino has implied that star defender Virgil van Dijk could start first time this season in the starting XI against unbeaten Manchester United on Saturday.
The Netherlands defender Van Dijk has not started in a game for about eight months following his severe foot damage in January and in the wake of coming back to full fitness he submitted a transfer request to move away from the club to Liverpool, which did not surface and the Sotton boss for that time being expelled him from the squad.
A weekend ago the 26-year-old made his first-team to return as a substitute in the 1-0 triumph at Crystal Palace and could now be again called upon on Saturday to help nullify a United side which has been in their best shape, scoring 16 goals in their opening five Premier League fixtures.
“We’ll decide tomorrow [Friday],” Pellegrino said when asked whether Van Dijk would play.
“But every single week, Virgil is important because he is getting better. After a long period of time without playing a game, he is training well again.
“It’s good news for us because we need Virgil, like every single player in our squad. He needs to train, he needs to play because the best training session for me is to play games.”
Pellegrino also proposed that Van Dijk who was included in Saints’ under-23 side this week, should be in an ideal shape and this kind of games will give him that choice to return into an ideal condition.
“I would like to introduce him little by little. The other day, he played 50 minutes, but it is something,” he said.
“I was watching the video of the game and all of the senior players were really well, and it’s an opportunity to be there on the pitch and be physically fit 100 percent.”