Van Dijk branded ‘lazy and nonchalant’ as former Netherlands star Kieft takes aim at Liverpool defender

Virgil van Dijk Liverpool 2020-21
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The Reds centre-half has faced accusations of becoming “arrogant” on the back of his recent success and is being advised to stay grounded

Liverpool defender Virgil van Dijk has been branded “lazy and nonchalant” by former Netherlands international Wim Kieft, with the Reds star urged to remain grounded.

The commanding Dutch centre-half has already been accused of becoming “arrogant” by Jamie Carragher early in the 2020-21 campaign.

The Anfield legend made that claim on the back of an uncharacteristic error from Van Dijk in a thrilling 4-3 victory over Leeds on the opening day of the new Premier League season.

Many were quick to put that down as a rare off day, with the £75 million ($96m) asset on Merseyside having been a model of consistency throughout much of his time at Liverpool.

The 29-year-old has enjoyed a meteoric rise to prominence since joining the Reds, with his profile rising rapidly to the point that many now consider him to sit among the world’s elite performers.

Kieft suggests Van Dijk needs to seek out continuous improvement and not rest on his laurels once reaching the top.

Kieft, who earned 42 caps for the Netherlands in his playing days and was part of the Euro 88 winning squad, told De Telegraaf of Van Dijk: “He is not sharp, he behaves with the Oranje and Liverpool like the finished star, the great coaching leader, who shows a little too much that he does not like his fellow players.

“At the same time, he plays lazy and nonchalant himself. He makes mistakes and often runs away from defensive handiwork in matches. With his status, he should be at the forefront of the battle.

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“It took Van Dijk a long time to get to the top international level. He has been there for about two seasons now, but it is important that Van Dijk remains very critical of himself. His environment also plays an important role in this.

“It's okay if his trainers shake him up a lot.”

Van Dijk was able to keep a clean sheet on his latest outing for Liverpool, with the defending Premier League champions easing their way to a 2-0 victory over Chelsea at Stamford Bridge as Andreas Christensen saw red for the hosts and Kepa Arrizabalaga endured another afternoon to forget.