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SPORTS

Virgil van Dijk rules himself out of Euro 2020

FOOTBALL By Mirror | May 12th 2021
UEFA Nations League Semi-Final - Netherlands v England - Estadio D. Afonso Henriques, Guimaraes, Portugal - June 6, 2019 England's Harry Kane in action with Netherlands' Virgil van Dijk [Reuters, Carl Recine]

Virgil van Dijk has confirmed that he will not to go Euro 2020 with the Netherlands as he continues to recover from his serious knee ligament injury.

The Liverpool defender has been out of action since October last year after sustaining the blow following a challenge from Everton goalkeeper Jordan Pickford, and he says he will use the summer to recover and get ready for the start of the new Premier League season.

"Seven months ago I got injured and it’s been a very, very long road," he told Liverpool's official website.

"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.

Netherlands' defender Virgil van Dijk (R) celebrates scoring the 2-2 with his team-mates during the UEFA Nations League football match Germany v the Netherlands in Gelsenkirchen on November 19, 2018. (Photo by John Macdougall, AFP)

"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."

Van Dijk says he hopes the decision will help him in the future as he bids to come back stronger for club and country.

"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.

"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."

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