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Netherlands legend labels Virgil van Dijk as a 'weird' player

Ryan Sidle

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Netherlands legend labels Virgil van Dijk as a 'weird' player

Virgil van Dijk has been described as a 'weird' defender by Marco van Basten, with the Netherlands' legend piling praise on the Liverpool player's fellow centre back.

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For the last few years Van Dijk has been considered one of, if not the, best defenders in the world, with Michael Owen even going as far as claiming he's the best centre back EVER!

This season though, Owen has been made to look rather foolish, and it's rare that he needs much help with that, as the Liverpool defender's form has not been great.

He has been criticised for his performances in games against Fulham, Manchester United, where he was at fault for Jadon Sancho's goal, and Napoli, where he got a 2.4 rating.

It's been a tough start to the season for Van Dijk. Image: Alamy
It's been a tough start to the season for Van Dijk. Image: Alamy

The criticism hasn't even ended whilst on international duty however, with former Netherlands striker, and manager, Van Basten picking out a specific flaw.

Former AC Milan star, Van Basten, claimed that the 31-year-old defender was too passive when it came to playing out from the back.

The former striker thinks it's 'weird' how Van Dijk plays, but did praise Ajax's Jurrien Timber for taking the initiative with the ball.

"Jurrien Timber is our biggest strength in defense," Van Basten said, via VI.

"He always takes the initiative just like Nathan Ake while actually the best defender [Van Dijk] takes the least initiative of the three which is weird, that such a great centre back does so little in the build-up.

"Ajax is playing great football thanks to Jurrien Timber and the national team is playing great football thanks to him too. It’s thanks to him that we are able to play so easy out from the back."

Van Dijk was criticised for not taking the initiative with his passing. Image: Alamy
Van Dijk was criticised for not taking the initiative with his passing. Image: Alamy

Timber was heavily linked with a move to Manchester United this summer but reportedly decided to stay put after talking to national team manager Louis van Gaal, the former United boss.

After missing out on that target, United moved their attention to Lisandro Martinez, who has quickly become a fan favourite at Old Trafford.

At just 21-years-old though, Timber still has a huge future ahead of him and will likely make a big money move away from Ajax in the future.

Even Van Dijk is impressed with his international teammate, with the former Southampton defender saying that his fellow defender is better than he was at that age.

"He has so much potential. Hopefully he can develop further. Then it will be all right, I think," Van Dijk said.

Jurrien Timber is getting all sorts of praise. Image: Alamy
Jurrien Timber is getting all sorts of praise. Image: Alamy

And another Dutch legend was also full of praise for Timber. With Ruud Gullit telling the Ajax star on a video interview how impressed he is with Timber's passing.

"I want to say something. I always think you're one of the best in possession. Really, you can play football so well. 

"I always had doubts about defending because you're not that big. But I can see you've gotten better at that, especially in those duels. 

"Because you also play at Ajax with a lot of space behind you, then you have to be able to cover well sometimes. And I think you've made incredible strides in it."

Featured Image Credit: Alamy

Topics: Liverpool, Virgil Van Dijk, Netherlands, Premier League, UEFA Nations League

Ryan Sidle
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