Virgil van Dijk failed to engineer a move away from Celtic Park but Rio Ferdinand believes that if he keeps his head down, great things will come.
Manchester United legend and new Queens Park Rangers addition Rio Ferdinand has backed Celtic’s Virgil van Dijk to star on the pitch for the Parkhead side this term and earn a big move abroad in the future.
The 23-year-old was heavily linked with a move away from the Scottish champions over the summer and reportedly asked to leave the club after Hoops crashed out of the Champions League at the qualifying stage to NK Maribor.
Newcastle United and Sunderland were among those thought to be keen on completing a deal for the £8m-rated defender but, with Celtic manager Ronny Deila standing firm in his resistance to any offers, the former Groningen stopper ultimately remained at the club.
And despite the Dutchman no doubt feeling a sense of frustration at failing to engineer a move away, Ferdinand believes he can still be a top performer for the Hoops and heaped praise on the club for keeping hold of one of their most valuable assets.
Speaking in quotes published by the Daily Record, Ferdinand said: "He is cool, calm and collected in defence. Virgil always appears relaxed and it looks as if there is another gear in there.
"His time for moving will definitely come at some point but look, he’s in the Holland squad this week while playing for Celtic, so it can’t be too bad for him.!"
The former England international also urged Van Dijk to now let his football do the talking with a series of displays that could help him win back the support of the Celtic fans.
Many Bhoys supporters were unhappy at the way the Dutchman attempted to use the club as a stepping stone to bigger things, having only joined Celtic for £2.6m just over a year ago.
"If he keeps his head down, playing the way he did last season and keeping on improving, there will always be interest from other clubs in a player like that."
One club that could potentially take another look at the 22-year-old is Ferdinand’s former employers Manchester United, with the Red Devils still in desperate need of defensive reinforcements, despite a summer of big spending at Old Trafford.
The Reds were previously linked with a move for Van Dijk last season, though nothing ultimately came of their reported interest in the star.
But with the defender earning a call-up to the Holland national team under new boss Guus Hiddink, don’t be surprised to see Louis van Gaal, or one of the many faces behind the scenes at Old Trafford, in attendance at a few Celtic games this season.