Virgil van Dijk hits back at criticism over his captaincy for the Netherlands
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Virgil van Dijk has responded to Ruud Gullit and Marco van Basten criticising him over his captaincy for the Netherlands.
Ronald Koeman's side bounced back from their crushing 4-0 defeat to France by beating Gibraltar 3-0 on Monday, having registered a staggering 51 shots against the European minnows.
Despite them picking up a much-needed win in their bid to qualify for Euro 2024, Gullit and van Basten both slammed Van Dijk following the result.
Gullit said: "Virgil van Dijk should lead the play on the ball. But no, he passes it sideways to Geertruida... 'you do it'. He doesn't take any responsibility on the ball. He plays so secure, so safe!
"We [Gullit & Van Basten] are positively criticizing Virgil van Dijk. He is part of the Team of the Year right? He got his nice award, right? Then show yourself to us! If he's still worth it? Everyone believes so, but I don't."
The ex-AC Milan forward took aim at the player's captaincy, adding: "A true captain thinks out loud and makes the situation on the pitch clear to everyone.
"But Virgil van Dijk is always stuck in between. He creates chaos which creates misunderstandings on the pitch. You should avoid this as a captain."
The 31-year-old hit back at the criticism as he claimed people should remember that players are not 'robots' in a defiant response.
"These days, everyone is allowed to have an opinion. That's how it is," he told reporters.
"It's pretty normal that you can't always be consistent. That you go through phases as a club and player looking for better form. This is human.
"Every week I try to play the best game of my life. But unfortunately this doesn't always work out. People should remember that we are not robots, maybe people forget this sometimes."
Van Dijk has slightly struggled for from this season, with Liverpool languishing in sixth place in the Premier League and out of the Champions League.
His performances have also come under scrutiny from the likes of Rio Ferdinand and Michael Owen.