Virgil Van Dijk: My top five Premier League centre-backs

The Liverpool centre-half is widely regarded as one of, if not the best, defenders in the world right now
Virgil Van Dijk: My top five Premier League centre-backs

Liverpool's Virgil van Dijk celebrates after winning the Emirates FA Cup final at Wembley Stadium. Photo credit: Adam Davy/PA Wire.

Liverpool's Virgil Van Dijk has lifted the lid on who he thinks the top five centre-backs in Premier League history are.

The Liverpool centre-half is widely regarded as one of, if not the best, defenders in the world right now, but speaking on Rio Ferdinand’s Between The Lines, he held back from putting himself in the rankings: "I can't do it (put myself in), but hopefully I'll be in this top five one day."

Following his extremely successful spell at Old Trafford, Ferdinand himself is number one on Van Dijk's list.

The Dutchman, lauding Ferdinand, said: "I think you could play in the modern era, back in the say you were so important for that United team. All the England centre-backs looked up to you, I think you were an icon as a defender. Also, the way you played, the presence is a very important thing. Be good on the ball, without the ball, you tackle a little bit more than I do."

Recently retired Belgian defender Vincent Kompany took second place on the list, with Van Dijk referencing his leadership as a key part of Man City's success in the 2010s. 

"A fantastic captain, good on the ball, good without the ball. Scored important goals during his City career. Scored a very important one against Leicester when we almost won the league. Great guy and he was outstanding."

Fellow Dutchman Jaap Stam was next to be included. After arriving at Old Trafford as an unknown quantity, he ended up becoming a key member of United's treble-winning team in 1999.

Former Chelsea and England captain John Terry is named fourth, while Sami Hyypia is a shock inclusion in fifth. Terry was central to everything good about Chelsea FC over 15 years, and Van Dijk simply couldn't leave him out. 

"He achieved so much - I think he has the record for clean sheets. Also, one of the centre-backs you look at for where you want to be as a youngster."

On Hyypia, the only Liverpool representative on the list, Van Dijk said: "I'm going to put Hyypia, you know why - because he's a Liverpool legend. He was underrated in my opinion. Very good player, good on the ball. So important for the club and in an important period."

It's fair to say there are some notable absentees; Tony Adams, Nemanja Vidic & Sol Campbell, but Van Dijk is well-positioned to pick a top-five given his stature in the modern game.

Van Dijk's top five:

  • 1: Rio Ferdinand 
  • 2: Vincent Kompany  
  • 3: Jaap Stam 
  • 4: John Terry 
  • 5: Sami Hyypia

More in this section

Sport
Newsletter

Latest news from the world of sport, along with the best in opinion from our outstanding team of sports writers

Sign up
IE_logo_newsletters

Select your favourite newsletters and get the best of Irish Examiner delivered to your inbox