Both Liverpool and the Netherlands National Team have felt Virgil van Dijk’s absence since the October knee injury that has kept him off the pitch, but both squads are watching with bated breath as he nears a return to play.
With his recovery seemingly going quite well, there was even some optimism that the defensive talisman could make his return in time to represent his country at this summer’s European Championship, but earlier this week van Dijk announced he would be sitting out the Euros to ensure he makes a full recovery.
While it was always a long shot that the 29-year-old defender would actually be ready for the Euros, Netherlands manager Frank de Boer was still understandably disappointed to find out he would be without his captain for the tournament. He was equally gutted for the player himself.
“I am especially sorry for him because he is our captain and has never seen a final tournament,” de Boer told NU.NL. ”We had already taken it into account and in the end, he had to make his own decision. We have to respect this decision.”
It’s especially unfortunate given this would have been van Dijk’s first chance to represent his country at a major tournament following the Netherlands’ failure to qualify for the 2016 Euros and the 2018 World Cup. De Boer is hopeful there will be more chances for him, but that doesn’t make this one sting any less for the player or the team.
“It is hoped that he will have more tournaments to play, starting with the World Cup in Qatar, if we qualify for it. I spoke to Virgil himself and he is just realistic. It is very unfortunate for us.”