Virgil van Dijk has confirmed he will not be heading to Euro 2020 with the Netherlands, instead committing to his recovery process with Liverpool.
Van Dijk has been out of action since October with an ACL injury. He is making good progress in his recovery but is yet to get back on the pitch for Liverpool. They have suffered in his absence, having failed to retain their Premier League title. Hence, they will be eager for him to get back to full fitness.
There were some concerns that Van Dijk may have been heading to the Euros with his country. While he would be within his right to do so if fit, Liverpool would prefer for him to stay and keep following his recovery plan with them.
Now, the Dutchman has allayed those fears and confirmed he will not take part in this summer’s international tournament.
He told Liverpool’s official website: “Seven months ago I got injured and it’s been a very, very long road. I had to take it step by step, as I have done.
“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 the Euros, yes or no?
“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.
“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.”
Van Dijk still not rushing
Elaborating on his decision, Van Dijk echoed Jurgen Klopp’s viewpoint that there is no rush to get him back.
The 29-year-old explained: “I am not the youngest anymore; I’m obviously not old, but I am quite mature and I know by now what could be a good decision.
“And I think this decision has definitely been the right one, in my opinion, to give my body and my knee a little bit more extra time to get ready for hopefully a big, big 18 months at least with the club but also with my country because we’re trying to go to the next tournament after this as well and that starts in September.
“I knew for a fact before all of this – before this decision and in the beginning of my rehab – there would be pressure on myself in this case. Hopefully, everybody wants me to be back as quick as possible. But for me it is to get back as good as possible and the time is not the most important thing.
“Obviously I want to be back out there. I want to be helping my teammates, helping my country in this case and I obviously want to help the club. But I think it’s the right thing to do to stay a little bit more patient and work even harder during the off-season and get ready.”
Outlining his plans for the summer, he added: “When the season ends it doesn’t really end for me. I will train every day, keep training until pre-season starts.
“Obviously there will be a couple of days of sort of rest. But I want to be ready and I will do everything that is possible to get ready, which is normal. I am looking forward to it.
“The sun is going to be shining again, so it makes it a little bit easier. I will keep working and that’s definitely the only thing that I can promise: that I will keep going no matter what.
“It’s all positive. I am very gutted to not be going to the Euros. But it is the right decision for this time and hopefully for the future as well.”