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'Nobody can really claim that title' - Van Dijk on being the world's best defender

16:56 IST 15/04/2019
Virgil Van Dijk Liverpool
Reds stopper thinks there are many great centre-backs in football and says he's excited not nervous for the season's final phase

Liverpool's Virgil van Dijk has played down the belief he’s the world’s best central defender, saying he does not believe anyone can claim the title. 

The Dutchman is tipped to be the PFA Player of the Year, and several commentators, including Dietmar Hammann, Chris Sutton and Paul Merson, have claimed he is the top centre-half in the game.

However, the player himself doesn’t believe that anyone can lay claim to that accolade.

“Nobody can really claim that title – it’s just about opinions. We need to enjoy it when players are doing well for their teams and I’m feeling good at the moment,” the 27-year old is quoted in The Liverpool Echo.

“Obviously there are a lot of expectations when you come to a club for a record fee but you can’t change that.

“You just need to perform and show it on the pitch and gain respect through that. I’ve tried to do that since day one and it’s been going all right.

“There are plenty of good central defenders around and I enjoy watching them.

“If I watch big games like the Champions League on TV then I’m definitely watching what different centre-backs are doing in certain situations.

“When people are talking about you in a positive way, that’s always a good thing, but basically that’s it.”

Liverpool are two points clear of Manchester City in the Premier League table, though their rivals have a game in hand.

They are also 2-0 up after the first leg of their Champions League quarter-final against Porto with a spot in the semi-final on the line Wednesday in Portugal

Despite the mounting pressure, Van Dijk says he’s more excited than nervous as the season enters its crucial final phase.

“I’m feeling positive. We are in a position right now where anything is still possible.

“You can’t prepare yourself for these situations – you just need to experience it and deal with it, and we have players who can handle everything that we’re going through right now.

“It’s the last month of the Premier League season now and we understand that we have to give even more than maybe we have done already and we’ll see if that’s enough.

“I’m not nervous, no. That’s something I definitely never am anymore. I do get angry at times at myself, and it’s just a reaction because we want to win games and we want to give everything because we work so hard together.

“On the pitch it is more excitement than nerves. You want to go out there and show the best of yourself to your fans and your family, to perform and do well.”