Former Celtic coach Ronny Deila has suggested that it was by improving his fitness levels that Virgil van Dijk made the leap into the world-class bracket.
The Norwegian managed Van Dijk at Celtic for a season, and speaking to the A Celtic State of Mind podcast, he said: “I think he was not fit enough to be at the highest level.
“He had unbelievable skills and potential but he needed to be better to train every day, take care of himself better and I think he progressed a lot in that year to be more conscious about how he lives his life after football and also how he trains.”
Deila also expressed how high he feels Van Dijk’s ceiling is, adding: “I said ‘you shouldn’t go to Sunderland, Southampton or whatever, you should go to the biggest club because you have the potential to be there.’
“But he didn’t believe me at the time. But one year in Southampton and he was already there. He can maybe be the best central defender in the world. You can see the potential he has.”
We’d definitely agree – Van Dijk can be one of the world’s best players, and in fact, probably already is. He’s been superb this season and has proven to be excellent value for money.