Virgil van Dijk outlines the key factor in his stunning rise to a world-class level

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Virgil van Dijk has revealed that playing football on the streets as a child is where he believes he gets his defensive abilities from – and says that is the best way for young defenders looking to replicate his career to learn.

Having seen off the likes of Lionel Messi, Robert Lewandowski and Kylian Mbappe last season, the Dutch stalwart certainly knows a thing or two about stopping attackers.

Van Dijk told UniSport: “I have had the benefit of a lot of one-v-ones by playing a lot on the streets. I played in a lot of five-a-side games when I was younger and I loved to attack in those days as well, so you got a bit of a feeling how attackers might think in certain situations.

“Obviously that comes with experience in my professional career too, but I think if you want to progress as a defender or an attacker, then just keep playing in the streets with your friends.”

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At the end of the year, Van Dijk could well be awarded the Ballon d’Or – for a defender to even be in contention for an award like that shows just how good he is and just how highly he is rated.

Having picked up the Champions League trophy at the end of last season, the Dutchman already has his sights set on the next campaign, and was training at Rangers’ training ground last week to keep ticking over.

With one big trophy ticked off the list, it’s onto the Premier League title next for Van Dijk and his teammates.

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