Celtic defender Virgil van Dijk explained at a press conference the importance of European football for his experience.
The imposing centre back feels he has improved as a player at the club, but stressed the need for European football as a means to help him improve various aspects of his game.
“I have improved a lot but that comes with experience, especially in the European games,” he said.
“I learned from my mistakes and I feel I have improved a lot. I work hard every day and want to be a better player every day.”
European football is a beneficial platform for any player because it exposes them to a different pressure than is often found domestically.
European football is also a level, which requires a certain quality and consistency for a team to take part.
The higher quality levels are beneficial for someone like van Dijk because they expose him to a better calibre of striker and that helps him to refine his defensive game and understanding of position.
He’s fortunate to be at a club, which has a relatively good chance of competing in Europe each and every season.
Celtic have shown in the recent past, a win against Barcelona just one example, what they are capable of in a competition like the Champions League, with some of their best qualities also displayed in the Europa League earlier this season.
Van Dijk’s determination to succeed and develop as a player is admirable and hopefully he will stay at the club to form the backbone of manager Ronny Deila’s side next year.