Soccer-Liverpool's Van Dijk says he will skip Euros to focus on knee rehab

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FILE PHOTO: Premier League - Everton v Liverpool

(Reuters) - Liverpool and Netherlands defender Virgil van Dijk has said he has made the difficult decision to skip next month's European Championship in a bid to fully recover from his season-ending knee injury.

Van Dijk, who was injured in the Premier League Merseyside derby against Everton in October, has been sidelined ever since after undergoing surgery and the 29-year-old said he was "gutted" to miss out on the Euros.

"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," the Dutch defender told the Liverpool website https://www.liverpoolfc.com/news/first-team/433769-virgil-van-dijk-exclusive-interview-injury-pre-season-comeback.

"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."

Netherlands are in Group C along with Ukraine, Austria, North Macedonia, and are scheduled to play their three group games in Amsterdam.

(Reporting by Rohith Nair in Bengaluru; Editing by Christian Radnedge)