Saturday, January 28, 2023

Lennon shames English scouts over Van Dijk

UncategorizedLennon shames English scouts over Van Dijk
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Hibs manager Neil Lennon will watch with pride as Virgl Van Dijk, plays in the Champions League final on Saturday night.
And he hopes all the scouts that ignored him will hang their heads in shame.
Lennon knows it’ll be money well spent on Van Dijk – after Liverpool signed him for £75million – if Klopp’s Liverpool can get their hands on their 6th Champions League.
He insists Liverpool would have saved a fortune though, if they signed him from Celtic instead of Premier League rivals Southampton, Celtic having paid only £1.5million and selling him to the Saints for £13million.
Lennon said: “It’s embarrassing. Virgil was a no-brainer for us. He was one of the steals of the century.
“We had seen plenty of footage of him playing for Groningen and you were watching and saying: ‘Wow, is this boy available’? There must be something wrong with him. Or something missing’.
“Then you go and watch him, and you think: ‘God, he could play for us no problem’.”
Lennon also says their was doubts cast upon the ability of the Dutch international during watching him, but in the end was able to see his fantastic ability.
“I went to see Van Dijk in the flesh once, against Ajax, and he made a mistake. Johan Mjallby was sitting next to me and said: ‘Are you sure’?
“But you only needed to watch him for ten minutes and you just knew.
“Van Dijk has a fantastic temperament, fantastic physique and great all-round qualities. He was just a Rolls-Royce.
“He could go through the gears when he wanted to. Technically, he’s unbelievable.
“When I saw him playing for Groningen, he used to bring the ball out of defence, hit the ball 40-50 yards on a sixpence to the winger.
“He was attacking the ball in both boxes. I thought: ‘There must be English scouts watching this guy’. In the end, we got him for just over £1.5 million.”
The quality of Scottish football was the main problem on why no big team took a risk on Van Dijk insists the now Hibs manager.

Van Dijk and Liverpool gaffer – Jurgen Klopp.

Lennon said: “I couldn’t believe my luck really. On the first day when we got him into training I said: ‘Look, enjoy yourself here, you’ll not be here long’. Virgil was just that good.
“In the end I was surprised how long he actually did stay at Celtic. Was it two years? I thought he would have been snapped up well before then.
“The fact that he played in Scotland maybe slowed the process down a little bit. A lot of scouts and managers should be hanging their heads.
“Big club scouts would ring me and I said: ‘What are you thinking about?’ What are you waiting on?’
“Some of the answers I got back were absolutely baffling. I just could not believe what they were waiting on. Southampton did the right thing. They came in and did the business.
“Van Dijk hasn’t changed that much. People say he’s got better. Well, he was like that when he was 22. Now he’s captain of his country.
“In the end Liverpool have won a watch, maybe an expensive one, but it’s one they could afford.
“It’s half the money they got for Philippe Coutinho, and they are in the Champions League Final.
“So Virgil is halfway to paying his fee back already. If they win, it might cover it.
“But they could have had him for £10-12million two or three years before if they had done their jobs properly.”
On Saturday Van Dijk will rub shoulders with the worlds best and attempt to stop Cristiano Ronaldo, Gareth Bale and co.
Van Dijk and Lovern celebrating together.

Neil Lennon, thinks he is more than capable of doing it.
Lennon added: “Van Dijk has made Liverpool better. I think he has been the missing link really.
“When you look at their defence, you have got a young right-back in Trent Alexander-Arnold, while the other centre-half Dejan Lovren can be a bit hit and miss.
“You saw them earlier in the season when they lost three goals in the second half against Sevilla, that’s not happening now.
“So Van Dijk has come in and made Liverpool far better at the back.
“We knew all about them going forward, but defensively they are a lot sounder now, to the point where Manchester City only got one against them over two games.
“For me, it was an absolute no-brainer, but because of this ‘playing in Scotland’ nonsense people asked: ‘Is Van Dijk good enough for the Premier League’?
“It was so apparent from day one that the guy was going to be an absolute superstar.
“Mind you, they used to cast doubt over Henrik Larsson, who went to Barcelona from here.”

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