June 12, 2021

Virgil van Dijk’s new role at Euro 2020 despite Liverpool star being ruled out

2 min read
Spread the love

Virgil van Dijk will be Holland’s chief cheerleader during the Euros after being ruled out of the tournament by injury.

Dutch boss Frank de Boer asked his captain to become an unofficial member of his backroom staff when Van Dijk admitted defeat in his bid to return to fitness after having his season wrecked by a cruciate ligament injury.

Van Dijk, who became Holland captain in 2018, will also continue the final stages of his rehabilitation while his team-mates go for glory this summer.

The 29-year-old is such a positive influence in the dressing room that De Boer wanted to have him around his squad during the tournament.

Van Dijk was given a seat just behind the dug-out when Holland drew 2-2 with Scotland in a warm-up game in Portugal in midweek.

De Boer has spoken of his disappointment that his centre-back was unable to recover in time to play.



Virgil van Dijk watches on from the sidelines in Holland's first warm-up match against Scotland.
Virgil van Dijk watches on from the sidelines in Holland’s first warm-up match against Scotland.

Van Dijk has never appeared in a major international tournament – and with his 30th birthday approaching in July, time is running out.

But De Boer said: “Virgil is so important for this squad and is a massive motivational factor who has always been important for the boys over the past few years.

“The team loves his presence.”

Van Dijk tore the cruciate in his right leg last October after a heavy challenge by Everton keeper Jordan Pickford in the Merseyside derby.

It was to prove a devastating blow in Liverpool’s bid to retain the Premier League title, after the Reds had just become champions for the first time in 30 years.

And the previous season, after winning the Champions League, their 6ft 4ins centre-back was named PFA Player of the Year and was runner-up to Lionel Messi in the Ballon d’Or poll.

Van Dijk hoped to return to action before the end of the season – and Jurgen Klopp named him in his Champions League squad.

When that comeback became impossible, he targeted the Euros – only to admit last month that it was beyond him.

Van Dijk made his Holland debut in 2015 and has won 38 caps for his country.

He started his career with Groningen before moving to Celtic and then Southampton.

Liverpool paid the Saints £75million to take him to Anfield in January 2017 – and it has proved to be a bargain.

Klopp, who also lost defenders Joe Gomez and Joel Matip to injury, has signed Ibrahima Konate from RB Leipzig to partner Van Dijk next season.

The France Under-21 international is regarded as one of Europe’s top young defenders.

Liverpool triggered Konate’s £36million buy-out clause after Manchester United lodged an interest in him.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *