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Monday, 15 June 2020

'He was Rio Ferdinand in the making' - Neil Lennon reveals what he saw in Van Dijk at Celtic

'He was Rio Ferdinand in the making' - Neil Lennon reveals what he saw in Van Dijk at Celtic

Neil Lennon has claim he knew Liverpool star Virgil Van Dijk was going to be one of the best defenders in the world when he was at Celtic.

Neil Lennon was Celtic's coach when Van Dijk arrived at the club in 2013 and showed immediately the kind of player he would be straight away in his first season.

Not long after his second season with Celtic, Southampton came calling and he signed for them for £12m which was not a surprise to Lennon who actually thought the Dutch defender would have left after his first season because he was too good.

'He was Rio Ferdinand in the making. He had all of those attributes - he was quick, composed, brilliant in the air in both boxes,' Lennon said during a chat with Chris Sutton on daily mail.

'Everything you're seeing now, at Premier League and European level, that's what I saw. I couldn't believe there was no English interest.'

'I also couldn't believe he was at Celtic for two seasons! I thought he might have gone after the first.'

'It would be nice to be able to compete with them. I wouldn't say 'envious'.

'I like finding players under the radar. Van Dijk is the standout example. He goes for £12m to Southampton, then £75m to Liverpool, and now he's probably the best centre half in the world. We take pride in that.'

'We take pride in Kieran Tierney going to Arsenal for £25m. There is a lot of untapped natural talent here. Ideally you'd love to hold on to these players because then we'd have a strong chance of achieving something in Europe.'

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