Soccer-Blind takes risks to get ready for Euro 2020

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FILE PHOTO: Champions League - Ajax Amsterdam Press Conference
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AMSTERDAM (Reuters) - Netherlands international Daley Blind said he has taken risks to speed up his recovery from surgery and be ready for next month’s European Championship.

The 31-year-old Blind needed an operation on his ankle after injury in March but less than two months after surgery is back on the training ground and hoping to play in the tournament.

"As soon as it became clear that there was hope of making it to the European Championship, I went full out for that opportunity. I am not 100% fit yet, but I am almost there," Blind told reporters on Friday.

"I took responsible risks," he added. "But still we pushed the boundaries. The penny could also have fallen the other way. In total I only spent three weeks in a cast."

He was speaking as the Dutch squad assembled ahead of Saturday’s departure for a week-long training camp in Portugal.

Blind, capped 77 times by the Netherlands, was named on Wednesday in the 26-man squad by coach Frank de Boer, and is seen as a key component of the side, especially with the absence of captain Virgil van Dijk.

Blind said he had the necessary experience to handle rehabilitation but it was still hard.

Over the last two years, he has had several injuries, and last August suffered heart muscle inflammation, causing him to collapse while playing for his club Ajax Amsterdam

"It's especially tough mentally, for me personally, but also for my family. Sometimes you think: ‘what am I still doing it for?’.

"But then a voice in your head immediately says, ‘but you want to go to the European Championship, don't you?’ And let's be honest, with the history of those heart problems, this ankle injury is not too bad," he added.

(Writing by Mark Gleeson in Cape Town; Editing by Alison Williams)