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Van Dijk’s Leadership Skills Corner

The Liverpool defender praises his Netherlands partner, Matthjis de Ligt, ahead of their coming international fixtures.

Netherlands v Peru - International Friendly Photo by Dean Mouhtaropoulos/Getty Images

If you’re talking about football defenders then you’ve got to be talking about Virgil van Dijk. He’s like the main one. Since signing for Liverpool, Van Dijk has done all the things for the team that Liverpool supporters wanted to see from a central defender. He was an immediately imposing presence. He was vocal. He was commanding. He took whatever Dejan Lovren had been doing previously and made lemonade. And now with the help of Alisson and the rise of Joe Gomez, Van Dijk is ushering in an era of solidity and dominance at Liverpool that hasn’t been seen in nearly a decade.

The Netherlands national team currently has tabs on Van Dijk as the Dutch captain prepares to face France and Germany over the international break. While away with the Oranje, Van Dijk will pair up with Matthijs de Ligt, a 19-year-old defender who plays for Ajax.

De Ligt reportedly has more than a few interested eyes on his progress in the Eredivisie. Van Dijk thinks highly of his young partner and took advantage of an opportunity to give his teammate some public kudos when it was offered.

“He is already very far, especially at that age,” Van Dijk told De Telegraaf.

“A good defender, good boy, calm, knows what he wants and hopefully he makes the right choice in his next step.”

De Ligt may turn into a player that attracts attention in a few years time. He will certainly benefit greatly from playing alongside Van Dijk while with the national team. But I think the story here is Van Dijk’s leadership as he praises his defensive partner in the press.

When asked if De Ligt would make the grade at Liverpool, Van Dijk responds confidently and backs it up with a personal guarantee.

“He will be on the list because they have enough scouts at the club.

“If they need my opinion at Liverpool, I’ll give it.”

Jürgen Klopp has created a team full of leaders since becoming manager. So far, this has proved to be a successful plan.

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