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Liverpool superstar names the defender he found ‘intimidating’ whilst growing up

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By Sarthak Joshi

Liverpool captain Virgil Van Dijk reveals he found the Manchester United legend defender ‘intimidating’ whilst growing up

Liverpool and Manchester United will renew their rivalries again on Sunday. Virgil van Dijk will follow in the footsteps of one of his childhood heroes, the legend Jaap Stam and the two share a mutual respect.

The Reds will be out for vengeance after the knockout by United in the FA Cup. Liverpool’s aspirations of a quadruple this season ended with the defeat, but the club is still in contention for the Premier League crown.

Former Manchester United defender Jaap Stam, who won the Premier League and Champions League during his three years at Old Trafford either side of the turn of the century, will undoubtedly be watching the game.

Jaap Stam heaped praise on Liverpool captain
Jaap Stam heaped praise on Liverpool captain

When he appeared on The Overlap with former United teammates Gary Neville and Roy Keane, as well as Jamie Carragher and Ian Wright, in December, the Dutchman asked which Premier League defender he’d choose as his ideal partner. Stam said:

“I’d keep it Dutch, I’d play alongside Virgil van Dijk, It would be a good partnership. I like the others too, but Virgil is a very good player.”

Jaap Stam, the legend, has always been an idol for Liverpool superstar Virgil Van Dijk. The Reds’ captain has responded to praise from his fellow countrymen. He said:

“Growing up as a young defender watching the national team, Jaap Stam was ‘The Rock’, he was always there, he was intimidating, when you looked at him on TV it felt like he was almost three meters tall!”

“He’d run through a brick wall and still be fine. It would have been a pleasure to play with him. He was an incredible defender, a huge name in world football, and hopefully I can be the same.”

Van Dijk considers himself very lucky to get praise from his idol. He further confessed that the former United player meant a lot to him growing up and he found him intimidating on the pitch.

It will definitely be an exciting clash again between the rivals

Jaap believes that according to the history both teams share, it would truly be an exciting and thrilling battle once again when the Red and the Red Devils share the pitch for the Premier League clash.

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However, it is very delightful to see that there still remains a lot of love and respect between Van Dijk and Jaap Stam, even though they are from each other’s rivalries.

In the middle of intense rivalries, respect often gets lost. Although it would have been a stunning sight to watch both the star defenders play side-by-side like the two pillars of a team, shutting down almost every upcoming attack.