William Saliba reveals he models his game on Liverpool's Virgil van Dijk

Dan Vassie
10 months ago

William Saliba has joined a very long line of defenders who have admitted to modelling their game on Liverpool's imperious number four, Virgil van Dijk.

The 22-year-old Frenchman was among the best defenders in the Premier League last season, during the Gunners' impressive campaign.

Saliba's importance was such that after he picked up an injury in March — which ruled him out for 12 games — Arsenal began to buckle, eventually allowing Manchester City to overtake them and win the Premier League.

A tall, young, and dominating centre half, comparisons between Saliba and Van Dijk have come easily, while the Arsenal man has confirmed that he sees the Liverpool star as the highest of bars for modern defenders.

"I still watch him [Van Dijk]," the Frenchman said to the Daily Mail. He continued: "I really like his quality in one-against-one, his calmness, his composure and his long balls as well. He has everything and, for me, he was a good defender to learn from… I think he was – for two or three years – the best defender in the world."

Whether 32-year-old Van Dijk returns to his absolute peak for Jurgen Klopp this season, under a tweaked system, remains to be seen. However, the defender's quality and drive will never be in doubt – the two components needed for any defender to try to become the best, according to Saliba.

He said: "Of course I have the quality, but that means nothing. You have to work hard to go to this level. So I'm not close to this level but I will give everything to maybe one day become the best defender in the world."

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