According to former Liverpool striker Dirk Kuyt, the appointment of Virgil van Dijk as Holland captain is an incentive for the “incredible steps” the Liverpool defender has made in recent years.
As per talkSPORT, Van Dijk was handed the armband by new Holland manager Ronald Koeman on Thursday and the centre-back began life as the national team captain against England on Friday in Amsterdam. Former Liverpool striker and Dutch international Kuyt believes manager Koeman has handed the captaincy reins to the right person.
“I think it’s a great achievement for him,” Kuyt told Liverpoolfc.com.
“Ronald Koeman took over the national team and last week in Holland they discussed a lot about who’s going to be the next captain and his name came up quite a few times. I think at the moment, for this team, a young team, he’s the best choice and it’s a great achievement for him.”
When asked what captaincy qualities he sees in Van Dijk, Kuyt told Liverpoolfc.com that the defender’s development in recent seasons and his ability to lead both on and off the pitch makes him the perfect choice to lead a youthful looking Netherlands side.
“He made incredible steps in the last couple of years,” Kuyt added.
“He’s not a typical Dutch player who played in the Dutch league. Yes he played there but not for so long – he went to Scotland and then to Southampton and now he’s at one of the biggest clubs in the world in Liverpool, so he did it his own way.
“I think the position he’s playing in the team makes him a player who always needs to communicate with players on the pitch and I know he also does it outside the pitch, so for me he’s a great pick.
“Like I said, Koeman is going to work with, in this match and the next couple of matches, a young squad and he’s one of the most experienced players at one of the biggest clubs.
“He’s a great pick, it’s a great achievement and honour for him and I have confidence he will do well.”
I feel Koeman has done the right thing by giving Van Dijk the national team armband. Van Dijk has been commendable since his Celtic days and further demonstrated his qualities after joining Southampton in 2015. The giant centre-back arrived at Anfield in the winter transfer window this season and after enduring a few problems, he is displaying some top performances.
Van Dijk is already the leader of the Liverpool back line and has visibly improved the players around him. So him getting the national team armband is no luck. It is because of the hard work and determination put in by the centre-back over the last couple of years.