ANDY Robertson would have loved to have squared up to his Liverpool team mate Virgil van Dijk in the Estadio Algarve tonight when Scotland played the Netherlands in their first friendly ahead of the Euro 2020 finals.

He is also disappointed his Anfield team mate, who has been sidelined since suffering an anterior cruciate ligament injury back in October, will not grace the Euro 2020 finals with his considerable presence this month.

The left back, though, is confident the Dutch centre half will be back to his brilliant best for Jurgen Klopp’s team next season as a result of delaying his competitive comeback by another couple of months.

“At one point it maybe looked likely that Virg would make the Euros,” said Robertson. “It looked like this would be his first game back and I would have liked nothing more than to play against him. 

“I have seen the big man go through his rehab, struggling at times of course, and now coming through the other side with his smile getting bigger and bigger again. He feels as if he is close to fitness and close to playing again and for me being close to him it is obviously tough. 

“I want my mates to do well and I want my friends to play at the biggest tournaments when they qualify. To see him not make it is obviously hard, but he has made the best decision for his career. He seems quite content with that decision. 

“Obviously he is disappointed, but he has made the best decision for his body and that’s why he has ruled himself out. 

“It’s a huge loss for Holland, but from a selfish point of view if he is fully fit and ready for next season then that obviously helps Liverpool because – for me – he is the best defender in the world and hopefully next season and in other seasons to come he will show that again.” 

Robertson is looking forward to meeting up with another of his fellow Liverpool players in Portugal this evening – Netherlands captain and midfielder Georginio Wijnaldum.

The man who scored a double in the famous Champions League semi-final fightback against Barcelona in 2019 looks set to move to the Nou Camp this summer and the Scot is keen to wish him well.

“We are a tight-knit group at Liverpool and we are really good friends,” he said. “It will obviously be good to catch up with Gini tomorrow with him leaving the club. It will be good to say a final goodbye. We will keep in touch, but it will be good to see him in person.”

Robertson has been in contact with his English team mates – who he could find himself up against at Wembley on June 18 – but predicted that contact would end when the Euro 2020 finals get underway.

“I am not sure it is off limits yet,” he said. “I spoke to Hendo (Jordan Henderson) last night. They are at the hotel that we are going to be staying at for camp. I was just telling him to make sure not to mess up my room!

“There will come a time when he will lock off from my nonsense and I will lock off from him, but I don’t think just now it matters. I am obviously close to these players. But when the tournament starts it is game time and focus on every game. When you cross the white lines there are no friends.

“Of course, we always say that. But these are players I have achieved a lot with and have a lot of thanking to do with some of them. When you are friends you will always stay friends, but when it is on the pitch that gets put to one side for 90 minutes.”

Robertson believes the match against the Netherlands will be an excellent way for Scotland to step up their preparations for their Euro 2020 opener against the Czech Republic at Hampden on June 14.

“The three teams in our group are incredibly tough games in different ways and, to prepare for them, the Dutch game is perfect,” he said. “They’re a nation with world-class players and we want to test ourselves against the best, so it’s a good warm-up game and we hope it’s a good warm-up for them as well.

“The last four or five days have been really good and now it’s about taking what we’ve done at training into these games and, if we do that, we’ll get closer to where I believe we need to be for the tournament starting.

“Luxembourg (who Scotland play on Sunday) will be a different game and maybe we’ll have a bit more possession than we will against the Dutch, but they’re both really good games to have and will stand us in good stead for the three big ones. Everything we’re doing is to work towards those three games. The crunch comes the following week.”