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Van Dijk recalls not being ‘good enough’ as a center-back

Virgil van Dijk, Liverpool
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Virgil van Dijk admits he lacked the definitive characteristics of a center-back and played as a right-back during his early days.

Liverpool defender Virgil van Dijk has remained an integral part of Jurgen Klopp’s team ever since making his €85 million switch from Southampton back in 2018.

The Dutchman helped his side clinch the Champions League title last season which saw him pip seasoned winners Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi to UEFA Player of the Year award.

A commanding figure at the back, Van Dijk’s arrival kickstarted Liverpool’s dominant period, who now boasts a hat-trick of silverware so far during his stay at Anfield.

But not the entirety of the 28-year old’s career is filled with success stories and he claims to have struggled to make a mark during his early days.

“When I was young I wasn’t so tall until I had a growth spurt. My knee was a little unstable. I had problems with my groin.” Van Dijk told Sport.

“At 16, I was a right-back and I wasn’t good enough to play as a center-back. I never stood out as a player until I got to the U19s and was named captain.

“Sometimes I played as a full-back, other times in the middle. From there, everything got much better.”