The Netherlands international decided to rule himself out of the Euro 2020 and the manager asked others to step up.
Frank de Boer
, the Netherlands boss, understands
Virgil van Dijk
’s decision to not feature in Euro 2020 and wants
Matthijs de Ligt
to try and fill that void.
The 29-year-old announced two weeks ago that he will not play in the tournament as he is trying to return to full fitness for the next season withLiverpool
Dutch skipper Van Dijk missed most of the 2020-21 season, struggling with a ligament injury he sustained in the clash against Everton in October. However, he is back on individual training now.
De Boer believes Van Dijk’s absence will be a big loss as they aim to win their second European Championship trophy.
Virgil made the decision himself,"
De Boer said on Wednesday.
"I think that's the way it should be.
"We all hoped that he would have been able to join us, that he would have had the same scenario as Daley Blind, that he would have been able to play one or two games.
"If we would reach the final, he would have been fit to play, that's what he said himself. In the end, it's been a very well thought out choice of his, even though it sucks for us.
"We hope we'll reach the World Cup, too, which will be played pretty soon. He doesn't want to miss two big tournaments and he also wants to be important for his club next season.
"We have all seen how big of an impact his absence has had on us and on Liverpool."
Wijnaldum has been the captain since last November when Van Dijk couldn’t play anymore and he will have the armband at Euro 2020 finals.
De Boer could also opt for Inter’s Stefan de Vrij and Juventus’ De Ligt. When quizzed who will spur the players on, the manager said:
"At this point, it's our captain [Wijnaldum].
"But there's different types of leaders: some are charismatic, some are very vocal. That's why you're asking this.
"I think Virgil van Dijk has everything: he has charisma, he's vocal and he looks like a true leader. Now we need to find others.
"Matthijs de Ligt was captaining Ajax at 19. He is also a similar leader. Stefan de Vrij has proven to be able to do so as well in his recent years at the highest level at Inter.
"It's something that has to grow within the squad. Daley Blind might not be a very physical leader, but he's very vocal and clear about what he wants others to do – a big plus for us.
"I don't think we have one single leader that has all of those qualities, but it's now time for multiple leaders to stand up and work as one, both on and off the pitch."
Among the biggest casualty of the players who were cut from the 34-man squad was Steven Bergwijn. Other players were Anwar El Ghazi, Hans Hateboer, Rick Karsdorp, Marco Bizot, Jeremiah St. Juste, Kenny Tete and Tonny Vilhena.
The Netherlands will start their Group C campaign against Ukraine on June 13, before locking horns with Austria and North Macedonia.