Virgil van Dijk rules himself OUT of Euro 2020 selection with Holland

‘Gutted’ Virgil van Dijk rules himself OUT of Euro 2020 selection for Holland as the Liverpool defender insists it is the ‘right decision’ to stay on Merseyside and complete his recovery from the knee injury that has kept him out for seven months

  • Liverpool’s Virgil van Dijk will not be representing Holland at this summer’s Euros
  • The Dutch defender has been out of action since October with a knee problem
  • Van Dijk is in recovery but this summer’s tournament has come too soon for him
  • Jurgen Klopp warned that calling Van Dijk up could have negative consequences
  • Instead, Van Dijk will now focus on being fully fit for the start of pre-season

Liverpool star Virgil van Dijk has ruled himself out of contention for this summer’s European Championships with Holland as he continues his return to fitness. 

The Dutch defender has been out of action since October when a reckless tackle by Everton’s Jordan Pickford led to a ruptured cruciate ligament in his knee that required surgery.

Van Dijk’s rehabilitation remains on course and he posted a video of himself running on the training ground towards the end of April as he continued his recovery.  

Liverpool star Virgil van Dijk has ruled himself out of contention for this summer’s Euros

Van Dijk is Holland’s captain but Jurgen Klopp has urged them not to select him for Euro 2020

However, he believes that missing the Euros is the ‘right decision in the grand scheme of things’ and will instead focus on completing his recovery to be ready for pre-season. 

Speaking to Liverpool’s official club website, Van Dijk said: ‘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.’

The 29-year-old is Holland’s captain but Jurgen Klopp recently said it would be too risky for Holland to select him for the rearranged Euro 2020 tournament, which begins on June 11.

A reckless tackle by Everton ‘s Jordan Pickford led to a ruptured cruciate ligament in October

Van Dijk has been working through his rehabilitation programme at the club’s Kirkby base

The Liverpool manager said: ‘I don’t want to hold Virgil back but you can’t force it as well. You are all long enough in the business to know that if you want to play you have to train before – and proper football training.

‘It takes weeks. Not a week before. You cannot be 10 or 11 months out, train for one week and then play football. That is not possible, it should not be possible.’

When asked if Klopp’s desire for Van Dijk to take his time in his recovery for the sake of his career had impacted his thinking, the centre back added: ‘Yes, definitely. 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.

‘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.’  

Van Dijk is back on the grass and is now targeting a return to pre-season training this summer

Van Dijk poses with fellow defender Joel Matip, who has also been ruled out for the season

Van Dijk has been joined on the treatment table by fellow defenders Joe Gomez and Joel Matip for the majority of the season with the Reds having suffered an injury crisis.

Asked whether having his team-mates around had helped him in his recovery, he added: ‘Yes, unfortunately we have been hit by a lot of injuries – a lot of injuries for senior players and that obviously doesn’t help. It doesn’t help for us, as a club, and for during the season.

‘But hopefully that will be it for a long time. They definitely help, we help each other in a way. Whether it’s to bring an energy to each other because obviously we are in the gym a lot and we see the same things almost every day, so we try to keep each other motivated, keep each other going.

‘All of us are in our last phase of our rehab, so there is light at the end of the tunnel. 

‘We’re all outside running and we see each other getting better, so that all helps. Hopefully from pre-season we can all be fit and work towards a very good season.’

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