Virgil van Dijk is confident he is well on course to be ready to begin preseason training with his teammates ahead of 2021-22.
The Liverpool defender is entering the latter stages of his rehabilitation program from a knee injury sustained last October, which required surgery and has kept him out of action since.
However, speaking to Liverpoolfc.com in his first interview since the operation, Van Dijk has offered supporters a positive update on his condition as he aims to be ready to join the rest of the squad in beginning preparations for the new campaign in July.
But the 29-year-old also revealed he has taken the difficult decision to not be available for selection for the Netherlands at this summer?s European Championships, instead adopting a longer-term outlook ahead of a potentially huge 18 months for both club and country.
LiverpoolFC.com: It’s your first interview in a while, Virgil, so I guess the first place to start is just how are you?
Van Dijk: I’m actually quite good. I’m feeling positive and full of energy and I’m obviously working very hard. It’s been a very, very tough journey so far, but I am in a good place right now and I’m progressing nicely.
LiverpoolFC.com: It’s been seven months since you had surgery. Everyone is so eager to know when you might be able to play for club or country again — what can you tell us about that at this stage?
Van Dijk: As you say, seven months ago I got injured and it’s been a very, very long road. 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 pre-season 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.