Manchester United great Jaap Stam has heaped praise on Liverpool’s thriving defender Virgil van Dijk.

Manchester United great Jaap Stam has claimed that Virgil van Dijk is ‘even better’ than him as he praised the Liverpool man for his qualities. 

Liverpool defender Van Dijk was recently runner-up to Barcelona’s Lionel Messi in the Ballon d’Or stakes, with many thinking that the Dutchman deserved the top prize.

Van Dijk helped Liverpool lift the Champions League last season and he is now hoping to guide the club to their first top-flight title in 30 years. 

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Speaking to Stadium Astro, Stam, who is regarded as one of the best Dutch defenders of his generation, shared his thoughts on Van Dijk, as Liverpool fans will love his comments. 

“It’s always been talk in Holand and everybody was speaking about, ‘we need another defender like Jaap [Stam]’. and eventually, Virgil came out and he started late,” Stam told Stadium Astro.

“He didn’t grow up in the academy of a PSV or Ajax. He built his own career path up by starting at smaller teams and eventually going to Scotland as well and then coming into the UK. Then growing and also you need to work for yourself and he did it. 

Stam is asked whether Van Dijk is better than him: “Yeh, maybe even better, I don’t know. But Virgil is a presence. That’s very important as a football player if you want to play in the highest leagues and the biggest clubs. Positioning yourself is very important. In possession and also out of possession because it helps you a lot. You get times to do things and he’s doing a fantastic job.”

Van Dijk still has a lot to do to match Stam’s achievements in English football, which includes winning the treble with Manchester United. 

Whilst Stam was sold by Sir Alex Ferguson prematurely, he still made his mark on the English game, as Van Dijk is making his own legacy and proving to be a big hit.

If Van Dijk can guide Liverpool to the Premier League title at the end of the season then it wouldn’t be a surprise to see many back him as Liverpool’s greatest ever modern-day defender.  

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