Van Dijk one of the best in the world, says Bertrand

The Saints defender has lauded some of his team-mates ahead of a Premier League clash with Chelsea on Tuesday


Virgil van Dijk is not only the best defender in the Premier League, but one of the very best in the world, Southampton team-mate Ryan Bertrand says. 

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Van Dijk has drawn attention from a host of major clubs, with the likes of Manchester City, Chelsea and Arsenal being linked with a defender valued at around £50 million. 

The interest is despite him not playing since he picked up an injury against Leicester City in January but Bertrand believes that his team-mate deserves the praise that's coming his way. 

"For me, he is number one," Bertrand told Goal. "Number one in the Premier League. Even going into the Champions League clubs, he is one of the best and right up there for me.

Virgil van Dijk

"Having played right next to him and seen his capabilities, I know that he is right up there. He has got pace, strength and technical ability. He reads the game well and he is great and very reliable to play alongside."

On Tuesday, Bertrand will face his old club Chelsea, where where he won multiple honours including the Champions League, Europa League and FA Cup

The left-back has improved as a player since his move south, becoming a regular for club and country.

Bertrand says Southampton is a great place for young homegrown players to develop and he has been impressed with James Ward-Prowse, who earned a call-up to the Three Lions in March. 

"Yes, he has done very well. The likes of him and Redmond have come in and they have done amazingly well," he added at the opening event for his gaming company, e_Champions UK. "They have got their rewards with a call up to the senior team. They have taken those chances, so they are great commodities for Southampton. 

"For Ward-Prowse, I just think it has been his most consistent season in terms of game time. Sometimes you need that game time to see a player and judge that player. Southampton is a very good club, a grounded club, with good people around it.

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James Ward-Prowse Southampton

"I am not sure about [David] Beckham [comparisons]. Any player that comes through has idols in mind, legends in mind, but no one wants to replicate anyone too much. 

"You want to create your own brand of football and I am pretty sure he is trying to define himself as a player and that will come out in the years to come.

"Southampton have a fantastic infrastructure to come and play and enjoy your football. They give you a good platform. They play expansive football and, within reason, they give you that confidence to go out there and enjoy yourself every week. It is a fantastic place to be."