• Coronavirus stoppage forces Van Dijk to reflect on future retirement

    Liverpool's Virgil van Dijk

    Liverpool star Virgil van Dijk believes that the Premier League’s ongoing suspension has forced him to confront the realities of life after football – a prospect he is not looking forward to.

    The English top flight came to a halt in March due to the coronavirus pandemic, with the Reds 25 points clear at the top of the table and seemingly destined for their first title since 1990.

    Lockdown measures across the United Kingdom followed, restricting the ability of players to train with their colleagues and obliging them to keep fit largely within the confines of their own homes.

    Van Dijk believes that these last two months could be a sneak preview of the sensation players feel after retirement, a milestone he is hoping not to face for some time yet.

    ‘It’s difficult to not be out there, to show our talents, to work hard, just the small things in the game,’ Van Dijk told BT Sport.

    ‘Also playing for so many fans, winning, the whole build-up to games, training sessions, just seeing the boys. We spend so much time together and all of a sudden now you’re not together for like two months, almost.

    ‘It’s different, it’s crazy, and it’s something that you really haven’t felt before, and it makes you appreciate things a little bit more.

    ‘It’s going to be strange, and obviously I don’t want to think about retirement or anything like that, but it’s going to be strange. It makes you think how difficult it’s going to be for players to make the decision to retire, because what are you going to do after?

    ‘There’s going to be a period of uncertainty where you have no idea what to do, and that feeling is what we have sometimes at the moment as well, because we have no idea what might happen.’

    While the likes of Germany, Spain and Italy have already resumed training sessions, albeit adhering to strict social distancing protocols, no such return has yet been attempted in England.

    Van Dijk, though, is trying to maintain his perspective, insisting that keeping infection numbers down has to be the first priority.

    ‘Obviously we try to keep in touch daily through our group chat,’ he explained.

    ‘But obviously it’s strange, it’s a strange situation for all of us, for everyone in the world – in any profession that everyone is doing. We have to adapt, we have to do things differently.

    ‘But the most important thing is definitely everyone’s health. I can only speak for my own private circle, if that’s alright then obviously that’s the most important thing.

    ‘On the fitness part, I just try to stay as fit as possible, do all the sessions we’re planning to do with the team. And make sure I’m ready for when the league restarts. Then we’ll see what might happen.’

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