“Celtic is a massive club, people still underestimate how big,” Virgil Van Dijk

VIRGIL VAN DIJK has spoken about his time at Celtic and how the Scottish Champions shaped him into becoming one of the world’s best defenders. The 28-year-old Dutchman spent two seasons in Glasgow between 2013 and 2015 before departing for Southampton.

Speaking to Sky Sports, Van Dijk discussed making the step from Groningen to Celtic, exposing him to a new culture, a new language and a new type of expectation.

“Moving to Celtic was a little bit similar to the step I took from Willem II to Groningen. Willem II is in the south of Holland, Groningen is in the north, so it was a totally different environment with a different language.

“Celtic is a massive club – people still underestimate how big it is – with European football and I spent two fantastic seasons there. I learned a lot about football and life. The European nights were outstanding, I learned a lot about how to deal with certain strikers,” Virgil Van Dijk said.

“Then there’s the Scottish Premiership. It isn’t the hardest in the world but it’s a league where everyone expects you to win and that was something new for me to deal with because Willem II and Groningen were never teams people expected to win.”

Van Dijk won two Premiership titles in Glasgow, as well as the League Cup under Ronny Deila but he also played European football, Champions League group stages in 2013 and Europa League Last 32 the following year. The move to Glasgow gave Van Dijk the pressure of being expected to win every game, something that he credits as making him a winner.

“Winning championships was something I hadn’t experienced before at a young age and it made me a winner. It was very important for my development to go there.”

Van Dijk is on the cusp of being a Premier League winner with Liverpool, their first in 30 years. The Dutchman was reverred during his time in Glasgow and many supporters could see how good a player he was, meaning that his assent to Champions League winner was not surprising.

About Author

Born just as Celtic were stopping the Ten, Lubo98 follows Celtic home and away and helps run his local Celtic Supporters Club. He goes to all the games and is a Law Graduate. Has a particular fondness for Tom Rogic among the current Celts and both Lubo and Henrik form his earliest Celtic memories.

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