Virgil van Dijk is incomparably good – and it’s a fact he’s seemingly well aware of!
Former St Johnstone striker Graham Cummins has told a story of the time he came up against the Dutchman during van Dijk’s Celtic days.
The pair had a footrace, and it was so one-sided, van Dijk encouraged his opponent not to bother next time!
“He left the day after we played against them. That’s my claim to fame, that’s what pushed the Southampton deal over the line, that he marked me,” Cummins told The Irish Examiner.
“We were told in the dressing room, stop him, rather than him stopping you. Get behind the ball when he gets it, because he’ll run the pitch no bother.
“The first ball, I tried to sprint with him and he just boshed me out of it. I was out of breath and blowing out of backside and he just turned to me and said ‘I wouldn’t even bother, I’m just too good.”
In fairness to Cummins, attackers in the Premier League and Champions League haven’t been able to get much change out of van Dijk either – so he shouldn’t be disheartened.
Right now, there isn’t a centre-back on the planet who comes close. His physical traits are unmatched in terms of speed, power and size – but he’s better on the ball than any of them at the same time – with an incredible amount of composure to boot.
It’s no surprise that after Liverpool took the plunge on van Dijk, we went from a defensively lapse side to the best one in the business.