Former Liverpool defender Gary Gillespie, revealed that he believes Virgil van Dijk has everything to become one of the best ever in the Premier League.
The impact that Dutch defender Virgil van Dijk is having in English football can be measured by the early comparisons he’s been getting, his predecessor Gary Gillespie understands why these comparisons are being made.
During the decade of the ’80s, Gillespie had the exact same role as the Dutch defender did as Liverpool’s centre-back in a dominant squad that won two European Cups and six League titles.
The former Reds’ player recently spoke to The Mirror about the comparisons that are currently being made of Van Dijk, he believes that it’s a little bit soon to place him on par with players like John Terry, Rio Ferdinand, or Jaap Stam.
But if the former Southampton player keeps this same level of performance and starts winning important trophies for Liverpool, Gillespie has no doubt that he will be even better than all those players we mentioned.
Virgil already has the technical qualities that any great defender possesses, specialists from other countries have even begun comparing him to legendary Paolo Maldini for his cadence when he makes the coverage against any defender and his skills with the ball at his feet.
🇳🇱| Virgil van Dijk has been tipped to become one of the Premier League's defensive greats by former Liverpool player Gary Gillespie.
Van Dijk swapped Southampton for Anfield at the start of 2018, and has quickly won a place in Liverpool hearts. pic.twitter.com/x3wE7zLUuN
— The Kopite (@TheKopiteOFF) January 22, 2019
Gillespie loves the idea that Virgil is already being mentioned alongside these players, he also likes the idea that the player understands where he stands and what he needs in order to become a Liverpool great.
“I’ve been asked a lot in recent weeks: Just where does Van Dijk stand, in relation to the likes of John Terry, Rio Ferdinand, Jaap Stam even, who are up there as the greatest centre-backs in Premier League history,” Gillespie said to the Mirror.
“Honestly, ability-wise and technique-wise I would put him top. He’s got absolutely everything.”
“But to become a living legend you have to be successful and win trophies and medals on regular basis… not just a one-off.”
“Terry and Ferdinand, they had immense quality, but they also had longevity. Virgil, he’s probably ahead technically, but he needs to show it with trophies.”
“I read those statements by Virgil van Dijk talking about former players like Kenny and Graeme Souness, Phil Neal, and it is clear he gets it,” he added.
“They became legends because of their desire to win and what they achieved for this club, and I’m sure he feels the same.”
“The current team has strong characters who can deliver trophies – and he’s definitely one of them.”
Gary Gillespie: “I’ve been asked a lot: Just where does Van Dijk stand, in relation to the likes of John Terry, Rio Ferdinand, Jaap Stam even, who are up there as the greatest centre-backs in Premier League history. Honestly, ability-wise and technique-wise I would put him top.“ pic.twitter.com/xM9pEKp6Tf
— Anfield HQ (@AnfieldHQ) January 22, 2019
The season is still very long for Liverpool and Virgil van Dijk, there are several matches to be played still and there is nothing that guarantees the Reds will win any trophy at all.
But looking at how the competitions in which Liverpool are still involved are progressing, we can already see that this squad will compete to their fullest until the very end of the season against any other club that wants a claim for the title.
The rival to beat this season will be Manchester City in the Premier League, the ones to defeat in the Champions League will either Real Madrid, FC Barcelona, Juventus, Atletico Madrid, and Bayern München.
This squad has always been competitive under Jürgen Klopp, but this is the very first season in which they have a world-class defender like Virgil van Dijk to fight for all the trophies.
As long as the Dutchman doesn’t get injured throughout the rest of the season, Liverpool will have a bigger chance to win the titles they play for with the certainty that they have some life insurance at the back who won’t let anybody go through.
🔴 Former Liverpool defender Gary Gillespie (@DizGillespie2) thinks that Virgil Van Dijk & Alisson have totally changed the way Jurgen Klopp's side play.
— Love Sport Radio (@lovesportradio) December 12, 2018
Do you think Virgil van Dijk has what it takes to be the best defender in the Premier League’s history? Please share your opinion in the comment section down below.