‘Everyone expects you to win’ Van Dijk admits how important Celtic was for him

Liverpool defender and ex-Celt Virgil Van Dijk has admitted just how important it was for his career that he came to Celtic, because of the pressure to win in Scotland and yet underestimated across the globe.

Van Dijk, said: “I went abroad to Celtic and it was a totally different environment.

“It was a different language and a massive club.

“People still underestimate how big Celtic is, with European football and everything else.

“I spent two fantastic seasons there and I learned a lot in football and also in life.

“The European nights were outstanding and gained me a lot of experiences against certain strikers and in certain situations.

“But there was also the league. It isn’t the hardest in the world but it’s one where everyone expects you to win.

“So I had to deal with that – it was new to me. Willem II is not a team everyone expects to win and Groningen is the same. I had to learn that.

“In the youths we didn’t win a lot of championships so it was something to experience.

“I was always a winner in my feelings but not in competitions.

“I hate losing and so Celtic was very important for my development.”

He added: “I think he was the main reason I went there. I knew certain players who were already there.

“We had a fantastic team and we had a record breaking season in my first year.

“I visioned myself going there with all these goals to achieve and especially my first season it was outstanding and Southampton were great for me.

“Then I went to Liverpool. The feeling when I went to Celtic, I didn’t realise how big the club was.

“But I had a feeling before I joined Liverpool just how big they are.”