Van Dijk one of the Premier League’s best – De Boer

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When the centre-back played in the Netherlands, his passing was expected to prevent him reaching the top, according to the former Barcelona star

Ronald de Boer is astonished with the progress that Virgil van Dijk has made to make him one of the Premier League’s outstanding defenders.

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The former Ajax and Barcelona ace has been particularly impressed with the technical developments made by the Netherlands international since he played for Groningen in the Eredivisie.

Since then he has gone on to play for Celtic in Scotland and is now one of Southampton’s most important players, with De Boer attributing his improvement to working with Ronald Koeman at St Mary’s.

“Under Ronald Koeman at Southampton he made unbelievable progress and now this year he is one of the top defenders in the Premier League,” De Boer told Talksport. “He has made the transition in a positive way.”

"When he was at Groningen he did OK, he was physical, but we Dutch always want defenders to play the ball to the same colour and that is something we thought was not his best thing. But now he does that.

“His passing is excellent but, most importantly, his defending is outstanding. He is showing it week in, week out in one of the toughest leagues in the world.”

Van Dijk’s form has caught the eye of several of the league’s leading clubs, with Chelsea and Manchester City reportedly considering a summer move for the 25-year-old.

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