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Liverpool’s Van Dijk: I won’t play at Euro 2020

Liverpool defender Virgil van Dijk has ruled himself out of this summer’s European Championship with Netherlands as he recovers from injury.

Van Dijk, 29, has not played since suffering a season-ending knee injury in October in the Merseyside derby at Everton.

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Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp recently said the defender would not be rushed back and Van Dijk has confirmed he has decided to miss the upcoming tournament.

“As you say, 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 preseason 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.”

Netherlands are in Group C with Ukraine, Austria and North Macedonia. They kick off their Euros campaign against Ukraine on June 13.

Van Dijk’s absence has not only played a part in Liverpool missing out on the Premier League crown to Manchester City, they are also in a battle to secure Champions League qualification.

Klopp’s side are seventh in table and seven points behind fourth-placed Chelsea with four games remaining. Liverpool have not missed out on Champions League football since the 2015-16 season.

The defender said it has been a tough year for the club but is confident they can turn things around next season.

“We all know how the season has gone — and we’re not happy with how it’s gone,” he added. “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 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.”

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