In January, Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp decided to splash the cash, £75 million, to land Virgil van Dijk from Southampton. Since his arrival, the backline has stopped leaking goals. But who really is the Dutch defender? Here are the 5 things you didn’t know about Virgil Van Dijk.
5. He once played as a striker
Van Dijk’s technical quality was in evidence from the very first day he became a professional footballer. He was once used as an emergency striker for his first club, Groningen. Virgil led his team in a 4-2 victory over ADO Den Haag in April 2011.
4. Van Dijk was once a pots washer in a restaurant
As a teenager, Virgil worked in the kitchen of the Oncle Jean restaurant in his native Breda in Holland. The restaurant owner Jacques Lips encouraged him to give up his football dream. “He was a good worker.” Lips said. Virgil was training hard to try and become a professional and had joined the academy of neighbors Willem II.
“I would often tell him he should wash more pots and stop trying to become a professional player.” Lips continued. ‘Stay here, Virgil’, I used to say. “Here you have the opportunity at least to earn a few quid”. He has absolutely made it and I hold my hands up. He deserves everything he is getting.’
3. Virgil has the origin of champions
Virgil’s mother is from Suriname, a former colony of the Netherlands. He subsequently has dual nationality. Patrick Kluivert, Frank Rijkaard, Edgar Davids, and Clarence Seedorf all share the same origin.
2. His toughest opponent is ‘Antony Martial’
— United Xtra (@utdxtra) January 2, 2018
Van Dijk has admitted facing Anthony Martial is the toughest. Martial once assisted Virgil after the defender suffered from a spot of cramp. This happened after the Dutch defender was run ragged by the Frenchman as Manchester won 3-2 at the Saints’.