Paul Merson has lavished praise on Virgil van Dijk, saying that he is the best centre-back in the world, while likening him to Liverpool legend Alan Hansen.
The Dutchman has been in imperious form for Liverpool since making his £75 million move from Southampton last year, helping Jurgen Klopp’s side to have the best defensive record in the league, conceding just 15 goals all season.
His performances have been so commanding that he is the favourite to win the PFA Player of the Year award, and asked if he will win it, former Arsenal midfielder Paul Merson thinks that he would be a worthy winner.
“Yes, in my opinion. He’s unbelievable,” Merson said on Sky Sports Soccer Saturday.
“He’s so good, it’s scary. He’s the best in the world, and I think by a long way, as a defensive centre-half.
“Some players just see Van Dijk and kick the ball away. I saw Theo Walcott last week, he went down the right, Van Dijk comes across, and he thinks: ‘Uh oh…’ and kicks the ball away. Normally, Theo would try to take someone on with his pace.
“I can’t talk highly enough of him. He’s Alan Hansen. You can put his kit back in the skip for next week, you don’t even have to wash it, he can wear it again. He’s absolutely different class.”
Should van Dijk pick up the award at the end of the season, he would be in pretty esteemed company, joining Aston Villa‘s Paul McGrath in 1992/93 and Chelsea‘s John Terry in 2004/5 as the only defenders to ever be named PFA Player of the Year in the Premier League era.