‘Are you telling me Virgil van Dijk couldn’t beat anybody up physically? Even Drogba?’: Liverpool great Steve Nicol dismisses Michael Ballack’s claim that the Dutch centre-back is ‘LUCKY’ not to be playing in his era of Premier League strikers
- Liverpool legend Steve Nicol has disputed the ‘luck’ of defender Virgil van Dijk
- Former Chelsea midfielder Michael Ballack claimed he has had an easier ride
- The Dutchman was not around during the era of Didier Drogba and other greats
- But Nicol claimed the 28-year-old could easily ‘beat anybody up physically’
Liverpool legend Steve Nicol has disputed claims from Michael Ballack that Virgil van Dijk is ‘lucky’ to be considered one of the best defenders in the Premier League.
Former Chelsea midfielder Ballack claimed the Dutchman did not have to come up against some of the best strikers the English top-flight saw during his era.
He said: ‘Virgil van Dijk is very lucky to play in an era where there is no [Didier] Drogba, [Frank] Lampard, Alan Shearer, [Thierry] Henry, [Wayne] Rooney, [Robin] Van Persie, [Carlos] Tevez, [Emmanuel] Adebayor and Diego Costa in the Premier League.
Steve Nicol has disputed claims Virgil van Dijk is lucky to be seen as one of the best defenders
Former Chelsea midfielder Michael Ballack claimed the Dutchman has had an easier ride
‘No wonder they think he is the best defender in the league.’
But Nicol leapt to the defender of the 28-year-old, backing him to ‘beat anybody up physically’.
He told ESPN: ‘Well I’m interested to know which part of his game he’s not happy with because if you’re looking for a physical battle, are you telling me that Van Dijk couldn’t beat anybody up physically? Even Drogba?
Former Reds defender Nicol claimed Van Dijk could beat anybody up including Didier Drogba
The 28-year-old has been a key part of Jurgen Klopp’s squad since signing for £75m in 2018
‘It would be great to watch but don’t tell me that Drogba would walk all over him physically.
‘Pace-wise I don’t remember seeing anybody, whether it’s the Premier League or the Champions League, running past this guy. So that’s not a problem.
‘Can he pass the ball? Yes, he can pass the ball. I’d love to know which part of van Dijk’s game he thinks would be susceptible to any of these strikers that he was talking about.’
Van Dijk has been a huge part of Jurgen Klopp’s side since his £75million move in 2018.
The centre-back was crowned PFA Player of the Year in 2019 and came runner-up to Lionel Messi for the Ballon d’Or in December.
Van Dijk was crowned PFA Player of the Year in 2019 and came runner-up in the Ballon d’Or
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