Who is Virgil van Dijk?
A defender par excellence, an enforcer and leader by nature, Virgil van Dijk plays with an aura of invincibility. Since making his debut for the Dutch national team in 2014, Van Dijk has established himself as one of Europe’s best defenders, winning two Euros and the World Cup in his first year, and being named Dutch player of the year four times in a row.
Whether he’s marshalling his defence in front of him or racing forward to beat his marker, Van Dijk is an inspiration to fans and teammates alike. Ahead of the 2018/19 season, we take a look at the fascinating career of Virgil van Dijk.
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A Defensively Sound Foundation
Van Dijk began his youth career with hometown club Ajax and made his first-team debut in the 2011–12 season, playing alongside his older brother and team-mate Matthijs. While not the ideal age to start a professional career, the young defender was given a chance by manager Louis van Gaal, who had just been appointed the Dutch manager. By the way, if you are betting on sports and want to get a bonus code, go to https://odds2win.bet/bonuses/pakistan/betwinner and collect your bonuses.
Even then, it wasn’t long before fans had recognised Van Dijk’s talent. During the 2015 UEFA European Under-19 Championship tournament, he recorded six goals and six assists in nine games – including a man of the match performance in the final, as the Netherlands beat Ukraine 7-3 on penalties following a 4-4 draw after normal time. It was the beginning of a phenomenal year for the Ajax-born defender, who was also named Dutch player of the year and earned his first call-up to the senior team.
Just a few months later, he was part of the Dutch squad that won the UEFA European Championships in 2017. The tournament was a big step up for Van Dijk, who had previously played only in the Under-19s and had never previously represented his country at any level. Naturally, it came as a big surprise when he was named in Roy Hodgson’s final England squad for the 2018 World Cup in Russia. Despite missing out on the golden ticket, the 24-year-old was determined to make the most of his opportunity and helped England reach the semi-finals, where they eventually lost out to Croatia.
A Defender With A Future
For all his talent, Van Dijk is not infallible. In fact, the opposite is true – his flaws are what make him interesting. For one, he can be over-aggressive and try too hard, which in turn can lead to injuries. In order to remain at the top of his game, Van Dijk knows he needs to be smart with his tackle and use his physical capabilities to their full extent. He also needs to learn to control his emotions, as too often he can lose his cool, leading to counter-attacks and mistakes from the opposition. So far, so good though – Virgil van Dijk has played only two seasons of professional soccer and already has 10 first-team appearances to his name.
Van Dijk is a full international now, having made his debut for the Dutch in 2014 and gaining 64 caps to date. He’s played in all sorts of games, including UEFA Euro 2016, the 2018 World Cup and the 2019 China Cup, where he captained the side in the absence of regular skipper Virgil van Langendonck, who had been called up for the national team. Van Dijk has established himself as an essential part of the national team, as well as a key player for his club team.
Despite his unquestionable talent, it’s not easy to predict where Van Dijk’s career will take him. In the 2019–20 season, he has been a regular starter for both club and country, yet has yet to establish himself as one of the best in the world. Still, with the right environment and enough games, we could see Van Dijk realise his full potential and continue raising the bar yet again indian news.