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Page last updated at 10:43 GMT, Monday, 2 June 2008 11:43 UK

Babel could recover in five weeks

Ryan Babel
The loss of Babel is a big blow for The Netherlands

Liverpool and Netherlands winger Ryan Babel should be fit for the start of next season despite missing Euro 2008 with an ankle injury.

Babel tore ligaments in training on Saturday, but Dutch coach Marco van Basten said the 21-year-old might recover in as little as five weeks.

Babel was set to be a key part of Van Basten's squad for the tournament in Austria and Switzerland.

"He needs five to seven weeks to recover," said Van Basten.

Liverpool's next confirmed match is a friendly away to Villarreal on 30 July, by which time Babel should be back in training.

The Netherlands are in Group C along with France, Italy and Romania for Euro 2008, which kicks off on 7 June.

Van Basten, who has called up defender Khalid Boulahrouz as a replacement, also has a concern over the fitness of Arsenal striker Robin van Persie, who has been on the sidelines since joining the squad last week.

However, Van Persie is optimistic about making his side's opener against world champions Italy on 9 June.

"I am in the final phase of my recovery. I feel fit," Van Persie told NOS network.

see also
Van Persie doubt for Wales match
29 May 08 |  Internationals
Wales must have 'Dutch courage'
31 May 08 |  Internationals
Van Basten names Euro 2008 squad
27 May 08 |  Netherlands
Netherlands team guide
15 May 08 |  Netherlands
Pick your Netherlands XI
23 May 08 |  Netherlands

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