Virgil Van Dijk rules himself out of Netherlands squad for Euro 2020
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LONDON - Liverpool defender Virgil van Dijk on Wednesday ruled himself out of the Netherlands squad for Euro 2020 in order to concentrate on being fit for next season.
The centre-back, who captains his national side, has been out of action for seven months after undergoing surgery on a ruptured cruciate ligament in his right knee.
"I've just progressed nicely," he told Liverpool's website. "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."
Van Dijk, 29, said he was "gutted" to be missing the delayed European Championship, which starts next month, but was at peace with his decision.
"The surgeon is very happy with everything that is going on and, as I said, the good thing is I've not really had a setback so far and hopefully that will not?
Van Dijk has not played for Liverpool since suffering knee damage after an ugly challenge from Everton keeper Jordan Pickford during a 2-2 Premier League draw in October.
His absence, plus long-term injuries to fellow senior Liverpool centre-backs Joe Gomez and Joel Matip, helped derail the club's title defence.
Liverpool are facing an uphill battle to qualify for next season's Champions League.
They are sixth in the Premier League, seven points behind fourth-placed Chelsea and have just four games left to play.
The Dutch begin their Euro campaign on June 13 against Ukraine followed by matches with Austria and North Macedonia, all to be played in Amsterdam.