Pundit launches unwarranted personal jibe at Liverpool star Virgil van Dijk in scathing attack

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Virgil van Dijk was on the receiving end of an astonishing personal attack from Dutch pundit Gertjan Verbeek following his country’s 4-0 drubbing by France.

The Liverpool defender captained Netherlands as they got their Euro 2024 qualifying campaign off to a torrid start, and the 60-year-old held him responsible for the opening goal at the Stade de France.

Speaking on Omrop Fryslan (via SoccerNews.nl), the former AZ Alkmaar manager said of the Reds’ number four: “I think Van Dijk is a first class wimp. I would immediately take away his captain’s armband.

“He has to mean a lot more as a captain. He has to put things down. It happens to him. At one point he lets Geertruida drown and then he stands there after the first goal, like: blablabla. Where was he then?”

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Criticising the individual mistakes of players is one thing, but Verbeek has gone way over the top by calling Van Dijk a ‘wimp’.

When looking back at Antoine Griezmann’s goal on Friday, it owed a lot more to sublime play by France than any particularly poor defending on Netherlands’ part.

If you simply look at the statistics from the season so far, you’ll see just how colossal a presence the centre-back has continued to be for Liverpool – he’s won more aerial duels per game (2.5) than anyone else in Jurgen Klopp’s squad (as per WhoScored).

Let’s consider this quote about Van Dijk from January 2022 (via ESPN FC): “You know how tall he is, how strong he is and how fast he is, and also the timing is crazy. I don’t think I won one duel against him because he’s a physical monster.

“I have played against him twice [by that time], I have said that he is the best I have met.”

Those were the words of one Erling Haaland. Yep, the same Erling Haaland who’s scored 42 goals in 37 games for Manchester City this term (Transfermarkt).

Rather unsurprisingly, we’re more inclined to go with the Norwegian predator’s verdict than that of a provocative pundit resorting to unwarranted personal jibes.

Ep73 of The Empire of the Kop Podcast: Author chat with Chris Roberts on Football, Mental Health… and more!

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1 Comment

  1. Who is Gertjan Verbeek? No one outside of Holland would have heard of him, he’s managed 10 clubs. so sacked 9 times, that speaks volumes. His playing career was not fantastic either, never played for a top club and as far as I know did not play for his country. It’s alright to have an opinion, but not use personal insults to a player who is 20 times the player Verbeek was. If he want’s to trade personal insults, he just needs to look in a mirror.

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