Reds captain Virgil van Dijk answered Liverpoolfc.com’s questions in Singapore with the Dutch captain reflecting on his new role with his club:
“[Being captain is] obviously going to be not easy at times, it’s going to be difficult on and off the pitch but I like challenges and I like to go for it. Obviously I know what it is to be a captain and now to be captain of Liverpool Football Club, I’m looking forward to it a lot and hopefully we can get a lot of success.”
van Dijk spoke also about the process behind his receiving the armband:
“Obviously over the last couple of weeks there’s been a lot of talks about Jordan leaving us and then there’s going to be the captain and the vice-captain leaving over the summer and then there will be changes. Obviously personally I was already the third captain of the team in the last couple of seasons and thinking ahead [that] there could be a big chance that I become the permanent captain of the club.
“Until the gaffer told me, it was obviously, I wouldn’t say a nervous moment but it was still unclear. When he told me, I was obviously very thankful and I want to not only repay him but repay the club as well for their trust and hopefully create good memories. I’m looking forward to the season.”
The new skipper was able, too, to reflect on the impact of departing captain Jordan Henderson and vice captain James Milner — both of whom left the club this summer:
“I think you’ve seen all the reactions of all the players especially and the impact he had on us – obviously not only on the pitch but definitely outside of it. The support he has been, he was always the one that put others in front of himself at times. He’s been so important for the football club and, like you said, he’s a legend and he will stay that as well. I’ve learned so much from him and hopefully I can do him proud as well looking ahead.
“Yeah, the same goes for Millie [James Milner]. He’s been incredible for the football club. Obviously he didn’t play that much over the last couple of years but his contribution on and off the pitch was immense. The standard he set for the group on and off the pitch, again, was something that we have to obviously carry on and others have to make sure that the standard doesn’t drop. But like I said, I’ve learned a lot from these two guys. And that’s the beauty of life – you experience a lot of things each and every day and you have to take the good things and also sometimes the bad things in order to progress. Hopefully I can show that as well – not only on the pitch but off the pitch as well.”
The Liverpool captain spoke of learning from his predecessors:
“I will never feel too big to ask questions or ask for help whenever it’s needed. Obviously I still have the full confidence in myself that I’m ready for the job, and hopefully we can get a very successful season. Some things are going to be new for me because of how big the football club is, but I’m looking forward to it. With the rest of the guys in the leadership group, we need to form a very, very good, strong team with them in order to be successful with the rest of the team. That’s the start. I’m very positive about it.”
Finally, van Dijk touched on the importance of the group as a whole and of Trent Alexander-Arnold, his new vice captain, specifically:
“You need to count on each other. We are basically the team behind the team a little bit. At times we are the ones who have to feel more responsibility than others – and we should enjoy that as well. I’m confident that we’ll be fine. There will be obviously a lot of moments where it’s not going to be easy, but that’s part of life as well and I think we all should be enjoying it and go for it.”
Virgil van Dijk will take the pitch as captain in Liverpool’s next friendly, when the Reds face Bayern Munich on August 2nd at 7:30AM EST/12:30PM BST.