Virgil van Dijk makes brutally honest admission ahead of Liverpool v Manchester United
Photo by Eddie Keogh - The FA/The FA via Getty Images

Virgil van Dijk makes brutally honest admission ahead of Liverpool v Manchester United

Liverpool icon Virgil van Dijk has told the Liverpool Echo that being a “late bloomer” is one of the reasons why he enjoys his career so much.

The Reds defender also gave an honest opinion of his formative playing days, claiming he “was not a great player”.

Van Dijk has developed into one of the best centre-backs in world football. And he has etched his name in Liverpool folklore.

Photo by Justin Setterfield – The FA/The FA via Getty Images

He joined Liverpool for £75million in January 2018 after completing a deal just before the opening of the transfer window.

Van Dijk helped turn a shaky Reds defence into a watertight unit, laying the foundations which led to the present-day all-conquering juggernaut.

The Dutchman helped Liverpool win the Premier League, the Champions League, the UEFA Supercup, the Club World Cup prior to this season.

And this season, Van Dijk has helped the Reds win the Carabao Cup and remain in contention for an unprecedented quadruple.

“Every day I take it as it is”

The 30-year-old’s individual accolade tally includes the PFA Players‘ Player of the Season, UEFA Men’s Player of the Season and UEFA Defender of the Year.

Van Dijk also finished 2nd in the Ballon D’Or voting in 2019 behind Lionel Messi, who won it by just seven votes.

The Netherlands international’s long-term injury last season proved a big factor in the Reds enduring a difficult, trophyless campaign.

Van Dijk says his career-threatening knee injury has made him appreciate Liverpool’s season even more.

“I was not a great player back in the days,” the £240,000-a-week superstar told the Liverpool Echo.

“I was quite a late bloomer, that’s why I enjoy my career even more. Every day I take it as it is. Enjoy it.

“For me, coming back from the injury as well, having seen everything from the sideline last year, to be in all competitions still is something I won’t take for granted.

“I’ve played almost over 50 games this season so that is something I won’t take for granted. I just want to keep it going, stay fit, win games and see what it brings and get ready for the World Cup as well.”

Van Dijk also looked ahead to Liverpool’s big league meeting with Manchester United at Anfield on Tuesday.

“The game on Tuesday is going to be intense against our rivals,” he said.

“We need the fans as well to be here with us, just enjoy it and we will give it everything.

“That’s what we can promise until the end of the season and whatever happens we will see.”

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