Here’s what you need to know about why the Liverpool captain won’t be playing for Oranje this summer at the Euros
Virgil van Dijk has been a defensive mainstay for both club and country, but the Netherlands will be missing out on his centre-back prowess during this summer’s Euro 2020.
So why isn’t Van Dijk playing in the Euros? Goal takes a look.
Why isn’t Virgil van Dijk playing in Euro 2020?
The Dutch international made the decision to withdraw from the national team in order to focus on making a fitness recovery, in time for the 2021-22 domestic club season.
Van Dijk has been out of action since October after being involved in a clash with Everton goalkeeper Jordan Pickford during the Merseyside Derby, rupturing his anterior cruciate ligament in the process.
The defender has been making steady progress with his rehabilitation, having been photographed at Kirby training ground doing ball work, but has deemed involvement in the Euro 2020 finals too soon of a return from injury.
What’s been said?
Van Dijk told the Liverpool official website: “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.”
When will Virgil van Dijk be fit again?
Liverpool have not set a return timeline for Van Dijk, but the hope is that he will use the entire summer to get back to fitness – with the goal of being fit by the start of the new season in August.
The Reds have certainly missed the centre-back, languishing outside of the top four for the majority of the season despite being named Premier League winners the previous campaign.
The Merseyside club were only able to finish inside the top four – and qualify for the Champions League – in the final days of the season, following an inconsistent campaign.
“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,” Van Dijk continued.
“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.”