Ronald Koeman has named Virgil van Dijk his official Netherlands captain, with Arjen Robben standing down from international duty at the end of last year when his side failed to qualify for the World Cup.
The 26-year-old has been exceptional since moving from Southampton to Liverpool at the beginning of January, and Jurgen Klopp’s side have only conceded five goals in the last nine games he’s started.
Van Dijk, the world’s most expensive defender at £75m, seemed the obvious choice, and was officially announced yesterday before Holland’s friendly with England this evening.
Sadly, we won’t see him in Russia this summer, although that does allow him a longer pre-season with Jurgen Klopp, just like new signing Naby Keita, who’s Guinean, will have as well.
“It’s great news, for me and my family,” van Dijk said, reported in the Echo.
“I am very happy with it, it is a great honour to be the captain of your country.
“Everyone knows that Koeman gave me the chance at Southampton, I am very grateful to him. This is very special.”
Former Everton boss Koeman explained why he selected van Dijk, stating the fact he’s at a big club like Liverpool now helped his decision.
“It’s a nice step for Virgil, he gets more responsibility,” said Koeman. He has the age and plays at a big club.”
We’re sure that will slightly irritate our neighbours, who once lost the plot with him for having red tinsel on his Christmas Tree.
It’s the little things!