Van Dijk, Zlatan, Alexander-Arnold – all the injured stars missing Euro 2020

Cameron Smith
Van Dijk tips helped Kabak find his feet at Liverpool

Van Dijk tips helped Kabak find his feet at Liverpool

Euro 2020 kicks off on Friday with Turkey facing Italy in the opening game, before the rest of Group A and Group B play their opening games on Saturday.

Whilst each nation has selected their 26-man squad, the respective national team bosses have been hampered by various injuries to key men.

Many players have been left out even though they're fit, but some have been unlucky, and will only miss the finals due to injury. Who are the high-profile players missing out on Euro 2020 through injury?

Virgil van Dijk - Netherlands

The Liverpool centre-half suffered a cruciate ligament knee injury in the Merseyside derby back in October and subsequently missed 45 club games during the 2020/21 campaign.

He has returned to light training, but is nowhere near match fit and hence misses out on the tournament.

It comes as a huge blow to the Netherlands who will have to make do without their captain on the pitch, although Frank de Boer has reportedly made Van Dijk an unofficial member of their backroom staff.

Van Dijk has 38 national team caps to his name, with four goals scored.

Zlatan Ibrahimovic - Sweden

Sweden's talisman announced his international retirement after their Euro 2016 group-stage exit, but in March of this year, he revealed he was making a surprise return ahead of the delayed Euro 2020.

After returning to Europe with Milan, Ibrahimovic has shown that despite being 39-years-old, he can still compete at the highest level.

However, after sustaining a knee injury against Juventus back in May, he's unable to take part in the competition.

Real Sociedad's Alexander Isak will be hoping to fill his boots and guide Sweden into the knockout stages.

Trent Alexander-Arnold - England

The hot topic of discussion surrounding Gareth Southgate's England squad announcement was whether or not Trent Alexander-Arnold would be included.

In the end he was, alongside three other right-backs, but disaster struck in the first warm-up game against Austria. With four of the six full-backs joining up with the squad late due to involvement in European finals, Alexander-Arnold was handed a start at right-back. However, he suffered a thigh injury in the closing stages of the game which has cruelly ruled him out of the finals.

With six goals and 20 assists in the past two Premier League seasons, Alexander Arnold's creativity from right-back could've been crucial, but the Three Lions will have to make do without him.

Brighton's Ben White has replaced him in the squad.

Pedro Neto - Portugal

In a fairly subpar Wolves season, one man stood out, and that was Pedro Neto. The Portuguese wide-man had scored five and assisted six in the league when he injured his knee against Fulham in April.

The injury was described as "significant" by the club and he missed the remainder of the season.

Although there's a slim chance he may not have made the Portugal squad due to the attacking talent they posses, he had broken into the set-up at the back-end of 2020, and had three caps to his name, scoring once.

He would've likely been on the bench, with the likes of Diogo Jota and Joao Felix preferred, but Neto could've been an explosive substitute for Fernando Santos this summer.

Dominik Szoboszlai - Hungary

He scored the goal that secured their place at the tournament and without him they would've failed to qualify, but Dominik Szoboszlai won't be fit to help Hungary in the 'Group of Death'.

Drawn with France, Portugal, and Germany in Group F, Hungary aren't expected to pick up a single point, but if their star man Szoboszlai was fit, they'd certainly have a better chance.

He made the switch from RB Salzburg to RB Leipzig in January, but due to this adductor injury, he is yet to make his debut.

He scored nine and assisted 14 in his last full season at Salzburg, and has made 12 national team appearances.

Joe Gomez - England

Yet another Liverpool player, and although Joe Gomez may not have started for England, with Harry Maguire's level of fitness unknown, it would've been useful to have him fit for the tournament.

With 11 senior caps, Gomez is far from a mainstay in the team, but before John Stones' revival, he was the chosen man to partner Maguire at the back.

He suffered a knee injury back in November, and like Van Dijk, is now able to run, but is still a long way off being match ready.

Tyrone Mings and Conor Coady have benefitted from his injury as they will both contest in their first major tournament for England.

Gomez also missed the 2018 World Cup through injury, describing it as "tough" to miss out and see the team reach the semi-final stage.

Arkadiusz Milik - Poland

Whilst Poland's talismanic goalscorer is Bayern Munich's Robert Lewandowski, Arkadiusz Milik has proven to be a more than able back-up in recent years.

A front-two has worked, and it was assumed that is would be utilised again at the tournament. However, he has been ruled out after complaining of knee pain upon his arrival to Poland's camp.

With a damaged meniscus, Milik has been declared unable to play and he has left the group.

Poland head coach Paulo Sousa has confirmed that nobody will replace the Marseille striker in the squad.

Donny van de Beek - Netherlands

He made just four Premier League starts in the 2020/21 campaign, and Donny van de Beek's Euro 2020 hopes have been ended after the Dutch national team confirmed he'll miss the tournament through injury.

The Manchester United midfielder has reportedly been struggling recently, and it's deemed not worth the risk to keep him in the squad.

Having spent much of the season on the bench it's unlikely he would've featured too prominently, but it's a shame for the 19-time capped international.

Frank de Boer has revealed he won't call up a replacement.

Nicolo Zaniolo - Italy

For someone so talented, Nicolo Zaniolo has been handed the worst luck when it comes to injuries. In January 2020, he suffered a serious ACL injury that ruled him out until July, and although the coronavirus pandemic ensured he only missed 14 games during that time, it was damaging.

Then, when playing for Italy against the Netherlands at the start of September, he suffered another ACL injury, this time to his left knee. Two ACL injuries on one knee is fairly common, but for it to happen on separate knees is desperately unlucky.

As such, Zaniolo failed to play a single minute of Serie A football in 2020/21, and he is nowhere near fit enough to feature.

At 21-years-old, the fear is that his talent may be heavily impacted by a career plagued by injuries.

Mason Greenwood - England

The Manchester United forward may well have been excluded from Southgate's final 26-man squad anyway, but Mason Greenwood ruled himself out of contention before the announcement due to injury.

The issue is understood to be his groin, but it appears to be an underlying problem that neither player, nor his club, want to make worse.

Greenwood has just one senior cap to his name.