Virgil van Dijk previews Euro 2024: Preparations, captaincy and targets

NewsVirgil van Dijk previews Euro 2024: Preparations, captaincy and targets

By Sam Williams


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Virgil van Dijk cannot wait to experience the European Championship for the first time as he leads the Netherlands into Euro 2024.

The Liverpool captain missed Euro 2020 three years ago due to injury but will skipper his country in Germany this summer, with Oranje to face Poland, France and Austria in Group D.

“You’re constantly working together to get everything ready down to the last detail, every day with meetings, in training, tactically, to ensure that we are all on the same page,” Van Dijk told of the pre-tournament preparations in the Dutch camp.

“You play for the Oranje, the highest honour you can have as a player. You are going to play in a major tournament and represent your country. You have to enjoy it, above all, even in the difficult moments, which will certainly be there.”

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Van Dijk – who scored in both of the Netherlands’ warm-up friendlies, versus Canada and Iceland respectively – also explained how he goes about performing his leadership duties within the group.

“As captain, I am also the extension of the coach,” he added.

“I know that’s my role, and I’m happy about it, and it suits me. As captain, you know that all eyes are on you, but I have got used to that, and it’s something I enjoy.

“I observe a lot. I naturally look at how everyone behaves, and if someone is in a difficult phase or has lower confidence, you try to act on that too. Ultimately, it’s about everyone being involved as a group, and the success we achieve is a collective one, with no-one left behind or feeling excluded.

“Everything we achieve positively, we do together – the 11 players on the field, but also the rest of the guys and the staff. Everyone is involved, from the equipment managers to the chefs and the players on the bench.”

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The Dutch squad – which also includes two other Liverpool players, Cody Gakpo and Ryan Gravenberch – are now preparing for their Euros opener against Poland on Sunday.

“Difficult team, good players,” Van Dijk said of the Netherlands’ first opposition.

“I know for sure there will be plenty of Polish fans there to make things difficult for us. We really need the Dutch fans for that game, but the first group game at the Euros is always difficult.

“We will be working very hard over the coming days and weeks to make sure we are all ready. If you win the first game it’s a big step to the next round but, of course, we have a real fight ahead of us.”

And when summing up his targets for the summer, the centre-back stated: “Winning matches and going as far as possible – that’s really very much on my mind right now.

“Winning matches, fighting as a group, as a team, as a country, together, building with each other. And I’m really looking forward to it, for sure.”

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This article has been automatically translated and, while all reasonable efforts have been made to ensure accuracy, some errors in translation are possible. Please refer to the original English-language version of the article for the official version.