Netherland manager Ronald Koeman has told Virgil van Dijk to sort out his defensive lapses.
Van Dijk is expected to lead the team when the Oranje face Belgium and Germany during the international break. The Dutch defender is responsible for beefing up the Liverpool backline with his unique kind of defending.
He has formed an irresistible partnership with Joe Gomez in the heart of the backline to ensure they focus on their attacking attributes more. But Koeman is not happy with the player’s performance.
The former Southampton manager pointed out the 26 year old’s mistakes in their 2-1 defeat against France in the UEFA Nations League. The gaffer also expressed his unhappiness as van Dijk committed a late foul to give away a penalty to Manchester City which was eventually missed by Riyad Mahrez.
Koeman said, “I told Virgil within 30 seconds of the end of the game against France what I thought.
“I know him so well – and that means I know where all his little faults are.
“Virgil has to improve. Not a lot. But sometimes he is a little too laid back. That needs to change.
“There are moments as a defender when you should be no more than three feet away from the striker you are marking.
“And, particularly in Van Dijk’s case, because of the strength and power he has he is too laid back.
“On Monday, when he arrived in our training camp in Zeist, he could see from the look on my face that I was thinking about the foul he made when Liverpool played Man City on Sunday.
“The tackle cost his team a penalty and Virgil realised that he had made the wrong decision.
“We have had lots of conversations about defending. He knows how good he is, and with his pace and strength, but sometimes that makes him a little too laid back, because he can recover most situations.
“It will not affect his chances with me. He is still my main man.
“You see him, with his strength, with his pace, and you know the level he plays at, the level he can be. I spoke with him, and said it will not affect his chances with me. But sometimes every defender – even one with his pace and strength – has to get a bit closer when marking, you cannot check out of the rush hour!