Former Rangers manager Ally McCoist has raved over the quality of Liverpool centre back Virgil van Dijk, and can’t believe a big team didn’t snap him up before the Reds.
The Ibrox legend obviously watches a fair bit of Scottish football, and he claims he could see the ability the Dutchman had way back in his Celtic days.
“Van Dijk had the qualities,” he told talkSPORT [18/10; 09:22]. “I watched Van Dijk, I knew right away, Alan, tremendous player, and would only get better.
“In fact, I was watching him with Celtic. At times, actually, I would say it was too easy for him. It got to the time he had to move, it wasn’t doing himself any favour, he had to go to the next level. Was it a surprise that a Liverpool or a Manchester United or Chelsea didn’t come in for him then? Yes it was, but clearly they would have saved themselves a lot of money had they.”
You have to believe what McCoist is saying, because he would have watched Van Dijk on a regular basis during his time in charge at Ibrox – the last year, at least. It was clear from the word go that the imperious Dutchman was a cut above the rest of the Scottish Premiership stars, and so it’s proved in the long run. As McCoist says, if a big team had taken a chance on the 28-year-old in his Hoops days then they would have saved themselves a whole lot of money. However, everything happens for a reason, and it’s certainly worked out well for the Reds. It almost doesn’t bear repeating the statistics in regards to the Dutch skipper, but we’ll do it anyway. In the Premier League this season, as per WhoScored.com, the centre half is averaging 0.8 tackles, 1.4 interceptions, 5.3 clearances and 0.8 blocks per game. The big thing, though, is that he’s only being dribbled past 0.3 times per outing on average. Plus, his average WhoScored rating in the league is 7.39.