Virgil van Dijk is currently one of the best defenders in the world. Ronald Koeman is currently managing the Dutch national team after failing spectacularly at Everton (AKA “business as usual at Everton.”)
Of course, all defenders make mistakes, as we know from fellow One of the Best Defenders in the World™ Dejan Lovren. During the last international break, Van Dijk was partially to blame for Oliver Giroud’s late 2-1 winner for France in the “most pointless competition” the UEFA Nations League.
Back at it on international duties, Koeman is quick to point out that mistake, as well as his recent foul on Leroy Sane that gave away a potential deciding penalty. I’m sure it has nothing to do with him being an Evertonian.
“I told Virgil within 30 seconds of the end of the game against France what I thought,” Koeman said of Van Dijk. “I know him so well – and that means I know where all his little faults are.
“Virgil has to improve. Not a lot. But sometimes he is a little too laid back. That needs to change.”
Of course Big Virg is laid back. He’s Dutch.
But in all seriousness, the fact that he is so consistently calm and collected (or, “laid back”) is one of his biggest strengths. It is one of the major reasons why Liverpool players and supporters aren’t absolutely bricking it every time the ball is floated into the box these days.
“On Monday, when he arrived in our training camp in Zeist,” Koeman continued, “he could see from the look on my face that I was thinking about the foul he made when Liverpool played Man City on Sunday.
“The tackle cost his team a penalty and Virgil realised that he had made the wrong decision.”
Cool cool. He could see on your face that you were still thinking about it, Ronnie? Virg had no doubt already moved on. Because that’s what professional footballers do. But I guess managers who can’t keep Everton out of the relegation zone have a different perspective on things.
“It will not affect his chances with me. He is still my main man, but I want him to get better.”
Of course he’s not losing his spot on the national team, Ronald. He’s boss, and will no doubt be a great defender under the next Holland national team manager as well.