Prem boss: Van Dijk as good as Terry, Campbell, Ferdinand

Date published: Friday 11th January 2019 9:12

Virgil van Dijk‘s performances for Liverpool put him on par with the finest centre-backs in Premier League history, according to Brighton boss Chris Hughton.

But Hughton believes the Holland international must sustain his form over a longer period of time to cement a place among the division’s all-time greats.

Van Dijk – a one-time transfer target for Albion – has helped transform Jurgen Klopp’s Reds into genuine title contenders following a £75million move from Southampton last January.

The 27-year-old visits the Amex Stadium on Saturday with the table-topping Merseyside club bidding to increase their four-point lead over champions Manchester City.

Asked if Van Dijk deserves to be talked about in the same breath as the likes of John Terry, Sol Campbell and Rio Ferdinand, Hughton replied: “Is he that level of player? Yes of course, I’ve no doubt he is when you look at the qualities he’s got.

“The other players we’ve mentioned have done it over a long period.

“If you’re asking me if he’s at their level as a player, then the answer is yes.

“But if you’re talking about an influence on our game and the history they have, then of course they’ve done it for a longer time and he hasn’t.”

Brighton – then managed by Gus Poyet – attempted to sign Van Dijk from Dutch club Groningen in January 2013, seeing two bids rejected.

The player joined Celtic in the summer of that year and, after moving on to St Mary’s for a reported £13million in September 2015, increased his value significantly before arriving at Anfield.

“What you have with all the best centre-halves, and it’s exactly the same with Van Dijk, is they make things look easier,” added Hughton.

“If you homed in on the job he’s done, the positions he is in, the pace that he shows, the distribution that he has, he looks such a good player.

“If you look at all the aspects of what you want in a centre-half: good in the air, comfortable with the ball at his feet, good enough pace, he has all those qualities.”

 


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