Former opponent lays bare Virgil van Dijk's self-confidence | inside World Soccer


Former opponent lays bare Virgil van Dijk's self-confidence

Sunday, February 16, 2020

Virgil van Dijk attends The Best FIFA Football Awards 2019 at the Teatro Alla Scala on September 23, 2019 in Milan, Italy
Photo: Claudio Villa/GETTY IMAGES

Former St Johnstone striker Graham Cummins has recalled facing Liverpool star Virgil van Dijk on one afternoon he struggles to forget.

Van Dijk is simply the best defender in the world right now. He's powerful, lightning quick, has the passing range of a midfielder and is a huge threat from set-pieces.

The Dutch centre-back just oozes class and it seems he also oozes self-confidence on the pitch.

And if Waterford striker Cummins is to believed, the 28-year-old has for some time been aware of his own potential.

Cummins spent two seasons at St Johnstone between 2015 and 2017, and came up against van Dijk in what would prove the Dutchman's final game for Celtic before completing a £13 million move to Southampton in September 2015.

St Johnstone lost 3-1 at Parkhead, but there was one incident in particular that stuck in the mind of Cummins.

In the first of a new series of Irish Examiner soccer podcasts, Cummins discussed the afternoon he faced the current Liverpool centre-half.

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".

Van Dijk was crowned the PFA Player of the Year for 2018/19 and he has been at his imperious best during Liverpool's record-breaking start to this season.

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