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'Van Dijk is going through hell, but he is strong' - Wijnaldum backs Liverpool team-mate to return for Netherlands at Euro 2020

18:13 GMT 09/11/2020
Virgil Van Dijk Georginio Wijnaldum Liverpool 2019-20
The midfielder has left for international duty without his club team-mate, whose participation at the Euros is in doubt

Georginio Wijnaldum says Liverpool team-mate Virgil van Dijk is ‘going through hell’ with his current injury lay-off, but he hopes he will return in time to represent the Netherlands at Euro 2020.

Wijnaldum has left Merseyside for international duty as the Netherlands look forward to games with Spain, Bosnia and Herzegovina, and Poland, but he has done so without Van Dijk as a travelling companion.

The towering defender could be out for the rest of the season after undergoing surgery on the knee injury he sustained against Everton in October.

After rediscovering their form under former manager Ronald Koeman, the Dutch were expected to be among the contenders to win the European Championship – but they now face a nervous wait to see whether Van Dijk will be fit in time to contribute.

"Virgil will return with God's will," Wijnaldum told VI.

“It is a difficult time for him; this is the worst thing you can experience as a football player. You go through hell. But I think he is very strong. We FaceTime every now and then and that is very nice.”

Many fans and pundits have questioned whether international fixtures should be going ahead in the coronavirus era, with the extra potential for transmission of the virus and the heavy workload on players.

Many nations are now playing three matches instead of the usual two in each international break, intensifying club managers’ worries about players’ fitness and potential injury issues.

Wijnaldum, however, says he is simply happy to have the opportunity to play for his country once again.

“As a club you never have the guarantee that you will get players back completely fit,” he noted.

“We play three international matches and that takes energy. But as a football player I think it is great to play many matches with the Dutch national team.

“Everyone who is now with the Oranje is happy with these international matches. At the moment I feel very good and very fit.

“But we are only at the beginning of the season. I don't know what it will be like later. Will I get a message from Liverpool? Yes, that I have to come back fit! Nothing more.”