Netherlands and Liverpool defender Virgil van Dijk confirmed that he would not be featuring in Euro 2020 due to the injury that has kept him out for the entire season.
Van Dijk has been out of action due to an injury after he was left with cruciate ligament knee damage following a tackle from Everton goalkeeper Jordon Pickford during a Premier League clash on 17th October last year.
The defender underwent surgery after that, and he has been out of action since then as he undergoes rehab.
“Things have been going well, I’ve not had a real setback or anything, I’ve just progressed nicely. In this latest stage for myself, I have come to a decision that I had to make – would I be involved in Euros, yes or no,” van Dijk told Liverpool’s website.
“With everything that is going on, I feel physically it is the right decision that I’ve decided not to go to the Euros and to go into my last phase of rehab during the off-season. So, the full focus will be on pre-season with the club and that’s a realistic goal, so I am looking forward to that,” he added.
Further talking about missing the European Championship, van Dijk said: “Obviously I am very gutted to miss the Euros, to miss the European Championship and leading out my own country there, but things have been like they have and I have to accept it – we all have to accept it. I think the decision to not go is the right decision in the grand scheme of things. It’s tough, but I’m at peace with it.”
Earlier, Liverpool coach Jurgen Klopp had said that he wants van Dijk to participate in the Euros, but he is not too sure about his chances of doing so.
“Virgil’s knee. I don’t want to hold him back, but you cannot force it as well,” the Reds boss said earlier this month. “If you want to play in a tournament, you have to train beforehand, proper football training – and not a week before but weeks before,” said Klopp.
“You can’t after 10 or 11 months out, train for a week and then play football, that is just not possible. It should not be possible. Nobody is holding him back, I can promise all the people in Holland that. But you can’t force it, and we will not,” he added.
Euro 2020 is all set to kick off on 11th June 2021 and the Netherlands face Ukraine in their first group stage game on 13th June. The Dutch come into the tournament as one of the favourites but with their captain and star defender – van Dijk – out, it will be interesting to see how much it hampers their game.