Liverpool defender Virgil van Dijk will miss this summer’s delayed UEFA European Championship finals, as he focuses on regaining full fitness. The Netherlands national team will be without their influential captain for the tournament.
The 29-year-old centre-back missed the majority of the season after he suffered an anterior cruciate ligament injury against Everton in October. Initially, it was thought that he will be back before the Euros. But now van Dijk has revealed that he will miss this year’s competition, which starts from June 11, as he aims to be ready for Liverpool’s pre-season training.
The former Southampton man was key to Liverpool’s first ever Premier League title last season, playing all 38 matches. He was also instrumental to the Red’s Champions League triumph the season before that.
And this term, van Dijk’s injury absence has hit Liverpool’s campaign very hard. Jurgen Klopp’s men are struggling to get into the top four. They are 7 points off Chelsea, who occupy the last Champions League place, with only four games to go.
van Dijk will miss the Euro 2021:
Van Dijk confirmed that he will miss the Euro 2021 with the Netherlands, as he focuses on returning before the start of Liverpool’s next season. He said that he is gutted to miss out on the tournament but everyone has to accept his absence.
Frank de Boer’s side will be without van Dijk’s leadership and imperious attributes in the tournament. Speaking in his first interview since the injury, van Dijk told Liverpool’s official website:
“In this 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.”
Klopp’s reaction to van Dijk’s decision
Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp had has his say on van Dijk’s decision to skip the Euros. The German coach hoped that van Dijk would return before the start of next season, but even that is not confirmed.
He spoke ahead of Liverpool’s crunch game against Manchester United at Old Trafford on Thursday evening. The game is a must-win for the Reds, as they look to make it into the top-four in the last few games. Liverpool manager Klopp said about van Dijk’ decision:
“With Virgil, it’s one of the most serious injuries you can get. I don’t know exactly how it came up that he has a chance for the Euros because the injury he had, people say it can take 11 months.
We all hope, because it’s going really well and we are all individuals and react differently in specific moments. The plan for us is that he can start the pre-season with us, but even that is not sure. So the Euros were just absolutely in the wrong moment.