Former Manchester United defender Gary Neville thinks Liverpool’s Virgil van Dijk deserves to be named Player of the Year.
The Dutchman has contributed hugely to the Reds’ title challenge and the TV pundit thinks the defender is already one of the best centre-backs in the world:
“Watching him in the last 12 months, everybody is giving him the praise he deserves. He’s been absolutely outstanding…”
“He’s a unique defender. Raphael Varane and Sergio Ramos have been the best centre-backs in the world for me for the last few years.”
“There is no doubt that this guy now is going to be up there in the next few years as the best centre-half in the world because I’ve not seen a centre-half as good as him for a long, long time.”
Van Dijk’s influence on the backline has gone well beyond providing a stable, reliable presence. He is able to instil confidence and improve those playing alongside him.
In addition to his leadership skills and communication, he is a very gifted footballer, able to deliver long, raking diagonal balls and head clearances to the feet of his teammates.
His calmness has been used as a stick to beat him with in the past with many seeing his casual style as a sign of weakness.
However, his ability to stay calm in a tense situation is ideal for this Liverpool side, keeping his head while others around him may be losing theirs.