Jordan Henderson says Virgil van Dijk’s impact off the pitch has been felt just as much as his performances on it during his time at Liverpool.
There were question marks over Liverpool’s decision to shell out £75million, then a world record fee for a defender, to bring Van Dijk to Anfield from Southampton in January 2018, but any concerns were wiped away almost immediately when he scored on his debut in an FA Cup win over Everton.
The Dutchman went on to pick up the Champions League and the PFA Player of the Year trophy last season, and stands on the verge of becoming a Premier League champion in the current campaign.
Reds skipper Henderson was full of praise for Van Dijk when asked by BT Sport what he’s brought to the team.
“What hasn’t he brought, really?!” he said.
“I couldn’t speak highly enough of him as a player. Of course, everybody knows how good he is and what he’s done over the last couple of years for the team, he’s been immense.
“He’s won his individual awards and rightly so. He’s an unbelievable defender, an unbelievable player.
“But for me, he’s brought something huge off the pitch. I couldn’t speak highly enough of him off the pitch and the type of man and person that he is.
“He’s an incredible person, a great leader to have in the dressing room and he’s given everybody a big boost from the first minute that he came in.
“Every day it’s a pleasure to be around him, [he’s] always smiling, always in a good frame of mind and he’s had a huge impact in the dressing room and on the pitch since he’s been at the club.
“He does things properly, leads by example and I’m just delighted for him [with] how he’s been playing and getting all the awards that he’s been getting because it’s well deserved and he deserves everything he gets.”