Frank de Boer has expressed his disappointment that the Dutch national side will be without their talismanic captain for the Euros but confirmed he would “respect” Virgil van Dijk’s decision in light of his ongoing recovery efforts.
The Liverpool star has been sidelined with a long-term injury since last year, with a return to on-pitch running signalling that the Reds could be due to see their backline leader back on the turf for pre-season.
“I am especially sorry for him because he is our captain and has never seen a full tournament,” the Dutchman was quoted as saying by NU (via Sport Witness).
“We had already taken it into account and, in the end, he had to make his own decision. We have to respect this decision.
“There’s hope he’ll have more tournaments to play, starting with the World Cup in Qatar, if we qualify for that.
“I spoke to Virgil and he’s just realistic. It’s very unfortunate for us.”
While we can more than understand that De Boer will be especially gutted to lose a player of the 29-year-old’s calibre for the European Championships, it’s a decision that will benefit both us and the national side in the long-run.
Considering the severity of the injury in question, it would be a huge risk to the defender’s career if he were to attempt to play competitive football too soon.
As things stand, Jurgen Klopp isn’t even 100% certain that Van Dijk will be available for pre-season, so it just makes sense for the former Southampton man to take things slow.