Liverpool FC star centre-back, Virgil Van Dijk, has opted out of his home country’s squad for Euro 2020 to centre his mind on getting fit for next summer with the Reds.
Naija News understands that the 29-year-old player during an interview with the English Premier League club on Wednesday, May 12, revealed he would not be able to join Netherlands national team to the Euro 2020, noting that his full focus is on pre-season with Liverpool.
Van Dijk had only played a few matches with Liverpool in the about to be concluded 2020/2021 PL games after suffering a knee injury last October, which required surgery. Naija News understands that the development has kept the player out of action since then.
Speaking with reporters earlier, Van Dijk admitted he had been in a “bad place” at the start of his recovery but said he now felt more positive after returning to light running.
“I’ve just progressed nicely,” he told Liverpool’s website. “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?
Confirming his position on either joining his home teammates to play for Netherland in the Euro 2020, VVD 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.
He added: “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.”
“The surgeon is very happy with everything that is going on and, as I said, the good thing is I’ve not really had a setback so far and hopefully that will not happen,” VVD reiterated.
“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,” he said.
He added: “Obviously I want to be back out there, I want to be helping my team-mates, 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.”
Naija News understands that Netherlands’ failure to qualify for Euro 2016 and the 2018 World Cup means Van Dijk will be 31 before he can make his major tournament debut, providing they qualify for the World Cup finals in Qatar next year.
Van Dijk long-term absence with the Reds since the knee damage in an ugly challenge from Everton keeper Jordan Pickford during a 2-2 Premier League draw in October, obviously affected Liverpool’s overall performance in the EPL this season. Jurgen Klopp’s men are now drowning in the sixth position on the Premier League table, seven points behind fourth-placed Chelsea and have just four games left to play.
Meanwhile, Manchester City has been crowned Premier League champions for the third time in four seasons after Leicester City defeated Manchester United 2-1 on Tuesday.
Pep Guardiola top the table with 10 points over second-place Red Devils and three games left to end the season, Naija News reports.