There are few people who would argue against Virgil van Dijk being one of the best defenders in the world.
The Liverpool player is at the top of his game and performing at the highest level, but he’s had to fight to get where he is now, reports De Telegraaf in their Friday edition.
Celtic signed the defender from Groningen when there wasn’t really much competition, and the big Dutch clubs had been content to see him leave the Eredivisie for Celtic Park.
It’s explained that in the Netherlands almost nobody predicted Van Dijk would get to this level. NAC Breda scouts overlooked him, Willem II didn’t bring him through, and nobody took much notice when he was at Groningen.
However, it’s stated the Dutchman ‘seemed to sink into a swamp of mediocrity’ at the Scottish Premiership club, before being rescued by Ronald Koeman and Southampton.
De Telegraaf clearly believe the footballer spent a little too long at Celtic, but if he hadn’t then maybe he wouldn’t have been so ready for the next step.
He got Champions League experience, something he wasn’t able to add to at Southampton, and was still only 24 years of age when he left.