Virgil van Dijk, a Liverpool defender, has announced that he will not represent the Netherlands at the European Championships this summer due to injury.
Since suffering an anterior cruciate ligament injury in a collision with Everton goalie Jordan Pickford during the Merseyside derby on October 17, Van Dijk has been out for the rest of this season.
The 29-year-old is optimistic that he will be able to participate in Liverpool's pre-season preparations; however, he said to the Reds' official 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.
"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."
Liverpool have struggled to defend theirPremier League
status and are still sixth in the table due to the loss of van Dijk and some other key first-team players.
In the battle forChampions League
promotion, they are seven points behind fourth-placed Chelsea, and Van Dijk admits it has been a frustrating season at Anfield.
"We all know how the season has gone - and we're not happy with how it's gone," he said. "It's been frustrating for all of us, for all the Liverpool fans.
"With everything that is going on in the world and in the football world as well, personally it has been a very tough year, but I am looking forward to next season.
"I am looking forward to football hopefully with fans and with Holland, we will try to reach the next tournament and hopefully I can lead the boys there for a historical tournament, but we're not there yet. It's going to be a very, very hard but hopefully promising 18 months for club and country."