Virgil van Dijk has ruled himself out of this summer’s European Championship, and is instead targeting a return to club action with Liverpool in time for the 2021-22 campaign.
The Netherlands captain has been sidelined since October after suffering a ruptured anterior cruciate ligament in a challenge with Everton goalkeeper Jordan Pickford.
The 29-year-old has, however, been progressing well in his rehabilitation, and has been pictured working with a ball at Liverpool’s Kirkby training ground, as well as posting videos of himself running outside.
That had raised hopes he could make an earlier-than-expected return to action for the Reds before the end of the campaign, and there were suggestions he could even be included in Frank de Boer’s Dutch squad for this summer’s tournament.
Van Dijk, though, has moved to clarify his position, insisting his focus is on Liverpool, and getting back to full fitness for next season.
Speaking to Liverpool’s official website, Van Dijk said: “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 leaving 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.