Virgil van Dijk knows better than to bad mouth the England NT’s goalkeeper in the media, even if an errant and dangerous tackle from Jordan Pickford kept van Dijk out for nine months.
Van Dijk missed most of Liverpool’s season and had to sit out the European Championship during the summer. Pickford, meanwhile, went all the way to the final game with England.
When asked by Dutch press about how it felt watching Pickford play against Italy, van Dijk wisely declined to comment.
“I’m not going to make any statements about that, because then you don’t know how they will translate that in the media in England,” van Dijk said. “But I really wanted to be with the boys at the European Championship.
“I am very proud to be captain of this team. Qatar, I’m really looking forward to that but we have to qualify first. There is a great opportunity, we are in good shape. But we need everyone. Also you as journalists. We need positive messages.”
He then quickly pivoted to talking about his teammates on the national team and ended with some helpful advice to the journalist asking questions: “We all want to go to the World Cup, don’t we? You should put that in the newspaper.”
Netherlands lost points on Saturday when they blew a two goal lead to draw 2-2 with Montenegro. So while they remain at the top of group G by two points, their fate still isn’t sealed and will come down to the final match against Norway on Tuesday.