"Vincent has always been a very talented player," Vermaelen told the Daily Mail. "When he was 17 he was playing regular Champions League football for Anderlecht.
"When he was young, he had some critics. He might do some tricks at the back, he wasn't always secure and he was making some mistakes.
"He is very technical for a defender and he wanted to show this with a few tricks but in the last two or three years he has got this out of his game and has become one of the best defenders in the world.
"He's really focused. He's a real professional. I see this in the national team. He works hard for himself and makes sure he's fit for every game. He's a leader as well and takes his responsibilities seriously. He's good for his team."