This season in the Scottish Premiership has seen the emergence of Celtic’s go to centre back Virgil Van-Dijk, the Dutch born defender arrived from FC Groningen with not many people in Scottish football having heard of him.
The 6 foot 4 aggressive ball winner arrived at Celtic for £2.6 million, after his first appearance against Shaktar Karagandy many of the Celtic faithful had wondered why they had paid that much for this 22-year-old who many fans had not heard a lot about. However in his first few appearances in the Scottish Premiership he looked a lot more comfortable in defense and with the ball at his feet.
Van-Dijk had one of his best appearances in a hoops jersey away to Dundee United on the 31st of August, where his marauding runs from the heart of the defense saw Dundee United’s midfield and defense completely carved open by this ball playing centre back.
He continued to be a main stay in the Celtic squad throughout the season continuing to show composure on the ball and assertive tackling. So far in the season Van-Dijk has played 32 matches and scoring 4 goals in total including a brilliant goal of the season candidate against St Johnstone in which he ran his way past 7 players before toe poking it into the back of the net, a brilliant solo goal.
Celtic season ticket holder @declanmc2000- “Virgil’s main strengths are his good range of passing. His coolness and composure when on the ball and he is good at beating a player with a quick shimmy”
It is often a very refreshing site to see in Scottish football to see players trying to play from the back and credit must go to Celtic’s players and Neil Lennon however as any team who play from the back defenders like Virgil Van-Dijk can sometimes take risks instead of playing the safer long ball. This is being very picky however as Van-Dijk very rarely makes any mistakes when playing and it was a very hard task to find a weakness in his game.
Why should he be PFA Player of the year?
Virgil Van-Dijk has had a brilliant debut season in the Scottish premiership helping Celtic win the league comfortably in which almost every single match they looked technically and physically superior to the other teams. Virgil has helped Celtic through passes from the defense that can break through the opposing midfield.
Virgil’s other centre back partner Efe Ambrose isn’t’t brilliant in the air and luckily for Neil Lennon this is one of Van-Dijks many strengths, dealing very well throughout the season against target men such as Steven Thompson, John Sutton and Kris Boyd.
Overall throughout this season Virgil Van-Dijk has proved to defenders all over Scotland that defenders don’t need to just punt the ball up the pitch and are able to contribute to teams attacking moves and chip in with solo goals as well.