As featured on NewsNow: Football news

Ex-Celtic boss Lennon hails Rolls-Royce Van Dijk: Why did Liverpool take so long?

Former Celtic boss Neil Lennon is delighted for Virgil van Dijk over his success with Liverpool.

The Ulsterman is still amazed by the lack of interest for the Dutchman when he was with the Hoops.

Lennon, who swooped to buy Van Dijk for £2.6m in the summer of 2013, told the Daily Mail: "We had seen plenty of footage of him playing for Groningen.

"You're watching and going: 'Wow, is this boy available? There must be something wrong with him. He must have one eye or something. Or something missing...' Then you go and watch him, and you're thinking: 'God, he could play for us no problem.'

"He had fantastic temperament, fantastic physique and his all-round qualities. He was just a Rolls-Royce. He could go through the gears when he wanted to. Technically unbelievable.

"When I saw him playing for Groningen, he used to bring the ball out of defence, hit the ball 40-50 yards on a sixpence to the winger. He was attacking the ball in both boxes.

"I thought: 'There must be English Premier League scouts watching this guy.' In the end, we got him for just over two million euros. I couldn't believe my luck really."

The Hibs manager also stated: "He has made Liverpool better. I think he has been the missing link, really. When you look at their defence, you've got a young right-back (Trent Alexander-Arnold) in there of 18, 19, and Dejan Lovren can be a bit hit and miss to be fair.

"So Virgil has come in and made Liverpool far, far better. We knew all about them going forward but defensively they are a lot sounder now, to the point where Manchester City only got one goal against them over two games.

"I was surprised how long he actually did stay at Celtic. Was it two years? I thought he would have been snapped up well before then.

"The fact that he played in Scotland maybe slowed the process down a little bit. Liverpool have won a watch."

Video of the day:

About the author

Paul Vegas

Have your say

Subscribe and go ad-free

For only $10 a year

  1. Go Ad-Free
  2. Faster site experience
  3. Support great writing
  4. Subscribe now
Launch Offer: 2 months free

Subscribe and go ad-free

For only $10 a year

Subscribe now
Launch Offer: 2 months free