Virgil van Dijk is the current favourite to win PFA Player of the Year. He would be the first defender in more than a decade to do so, and former Red Jamie Carragher thinks he’s more than deserving—and more than that, that he’s been the best defender in Europe.
“I do, actually,” Carragher told The Anfield Wrap this week when asked if Van Dijk has been the best at his position in Europe. “With the performances he has given he’s been the best player in the Premier League. I’ll be surprised if he doesn’t win PFA Player of the Year.”
At least based on how the public are betting on it, Van Dijk not getting it certainly would be a surprise as he’s currently firm favourite with only Manchester City duo Raheem Sterling and Sergio Aguero close to being in the conversation—and even they aren’t that close.
If he does win as expected, Van Dijk would be the first defender to take the award voted on by his fellow players since John Terry in 2004-05 and only the third to do so in the Premier League era, with Aston VIlla’s Paul McGrath winning it all the way back in 1992-93.
With Mohamed Salah taking honours last season, it would also mark the first time since Kenny Dalglish and Ian Rush won in 1982-83 and 1983-84 back during the club’s old First Division glory days days that Liverpool players have won the award it back-to-back.
Whatever happens next, then, both with PFA Player of the Year voting and over the final two months of the season, it will be hard to dent Van Dijk’s growing, glowing reputation—and that a mere year on from a time when many were questioning his £75M transfer fee.
“When he first signed there were maybe raised eyebrows at the amount,” Carragher added. “But if somebody offered you double now you probably wouldn’t take it, that’s how good he has been.”