Liverpool’s Virgil van Dijk has confirmed that he will not play in this summer’s Euros, instead, focusing on a proper pre-season for The Reds.
Van Dijk, who will be 30 in July, believes he has the best chance of a full recovery from his knee injury if he is not rushed back into action in June.
Speaking to Liverpoolfc.com, Van Dijk gave an update on how he is currently feeling and the difficult decision he had to make regarding this summer’s European Championship:
“I’m actually quite good; I’m feeling positive and full of energy and I’m obviously working very hard. It’s been a very, very tough journey so far, but I am in a good place right now and I’m progressing nicely.
“… 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.
“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.
On his plans for getting back to helping both club and country, Van Dijk said:
“We all know how the season has gone – and we’re not happy with how it’s gone. It’s been frustrating for all of us, for all the Liverpool fans. With everything that is going on in the world and in the football world as well, personally it has been a very tough year, but I am looking forward to next season. I am looking forward to football hopefully with fans and with Holland, we will try to reach the next tournament [Qatar World Cup] and hopefully I can lead the boys there for a historical tournament, but we’re not there yet. It’s going to be a very, very hard but hopefully promising 18 months for club and country.”
The news that Van Dijk will focus on his rehabilitation this summer and not risk rushing his return for the Netherlands is great news for Liverpool fans everywhere. With the best defender in world football back on the pitch for the 2021/22 campaign, Liverpool should be able to get back to the level we came to expect of Jürgen Klopp’s men in the last few years.
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