Netherlands manager Louis van Gaal has hailed praise on Liverpool defender Virgil van Dijk, claiming he is one of the best captains he has ever worked with.
Taking to his pre-match press conference ahead of Holland’s first World Cup group stage match against Senegal tomorrow, the Dutch boss spoke of his admiration for the 31-year-old Anfield favourite.
“I’ve been a coach for 30 years. I’ve worked with many captains, but he (Van Dijk) is a truly excellent captain,” van Gaal exclaimed.
The Netherlands face a Senegalese team without Sadio Mane tomorrow, with the former Red ruled out of the competition with a leg injury.
Alongside the West African nation, van Dijk’s side will also have to take on Qatar and Ecuador in Group A of the competition.
Van Gaal full of praise for captain van Dijk
With skipper Jordan Henderson in-and-out of the side and with James Milner’s reduced minutes in the starting XI, van Dijk has become accustomed to wearing the armband for the Reds this season.
In the heart of the defence, the Dutchman is a powerful leader. Not only does he command his men with his fantastic organisation, he also leads by example.
With his giant stature and dominant physicality, the 31-year-old is very likely to come away with the ball after going in for a challenge.
His calm aura at the back allows Liverpool to play the football they set out to exploit, beginning with his pass out of the defensive third.
His pin-point accuracy means he is able to switch the play across the pitch, setting the likes of Mohamed Salah or Darwin Nunez up onto the opposition defence.
Even in the dressing room, van Dijk comes across as a huge presence, often one to help his teammates out with advice.
If Henderson and Milner weren’t at the club, the Netherlands international would certainly have Liverpool’s permanent captaincy.
Therefore, seeing him line the Dutch team out is great as a Reds fan; he really does deserve it.
If he was at any other Premier League club, he would be sure to do this week-in and week-out. However, with Anfield’s incredible leaders, he instead forms part of a brilliant captaincy team.