‘Asking them for something they don’t have’ – Netherlands legend aims brutal dig at Virgil van Dijk

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Virgil Van Dijk has been on the receiving end of some criticism from a Netherlands legend recently after Ronald Koeman’s side disappointed in the Nations League.

Ruud Gullit has claimed that our No. 4 ‘doesn’t have a leadership skills’ and believes the 31-year-old needs to focus on his own game at the moment amid a drop off in form.

The comments come after De Oranje disappointed home supporters as they were defeated 4-2 by Croatia in the semi-finals of the Nations League and then lost their third-place play off against Italy as well.

Writing for De Telegraaf (via Liverpool Echo), the AC Milan icon said: “I have been looking for arguments to defend Koeman and the internationals in the Nations League.

“After all, I have also been a player and you do not like this to happen in a big football event organised in your country.

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“After a tremendous fight, I can’t defend Koeman and his players. Did you feel like going on vacation? Despite the fact that they are idolised by some people in the Netherlands, often to loud applause, I find that these two important players do not measure up when necessary.

“They do not reach the level that can be required of them as decisive international leaders. I think Van Dijk and De Jong don’t have leadership skills.

“Actually, I’m asking them for something they don’t have. They need more attention to their own game. It’s difficult for a coach to work without leaders on the pitch and it’s supposed to be that Van Dijk and De Jong should be those leaders.”

Football is a team game so it’s somewhat harsh for Gullit to select just two players to criticise.

We understand they me be two of the more talented and experienced players in the squad but other players also need to step up when their country needs them most.

Some may have been concerned by how easily the former Southampton man was beaten during the clash with Italy and although it’s hard to admit he’s currently performing at nowhere near the level of previous seasons.

He still remains a world-class defender but since suffering that devastating knee injury back in 2020 he appears to have lost a bit of confidence and sharpness, especially when it comes to one-v-one battles with opponents.

It’s bizarre for van Dijk’s leadership qualities to be questioned, however, with him donning the armband for Jurgen Klopp’s side on many occasions last term whenever Jordan Henderson or James Milner were not present on the pitch.

We’re still a much stronger outfit when he’s in the side and believe if he can enjoy a strong preseason with summer there’s no reason why we can’t see him at his unbelievable best during the 2023/24 campaign.

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