Virgil van Dijk gets minutes under his belt with Southampton Under-23s

Van Dijk steps up fitness in U23s clash
© SilverHub
Southampton defender Virgil van Dijk features for the Under-23s in a bid to step up his fitness following eight months on the sidelines.

Southampton defender Virgil van Dijk came through Monday evening's Under-23s match unscathed.

The Dutchman played in a 4-0 defeat to Aston Villa, but showed that he is not quite up to first-team fitness yet.

Van Dijk, who was heavily linked with a move to Liverpool in the summer transfer window, missed the majority of last season after suffering an ankle injury in January.

The 26-year-old tried to force a move out of St Mary's by submitting a transfer request, but the Saints hierarchy could not be swayed.

It is unclear when Van Dijk will be welcomed back into the fold, but the centre-back looked rusty on Monday evening when he was at fault for the first, second and fourth goals that the U23s conceded.

In the Dutchman's absence this season, Mauricio Pellegrino's side have lost one, drawn two and won one in the Premier League.

Virgil van Dijk is subbed with a foot injury during the Premier League game between Southampton and Leicester City on January 22, 2017
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