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  • David Tyrer

Charlie Nicholas: Van Dijk 'looks cumbersome and sluggish at times'

Of all the ridiculous takes from football pundits, few can surely match the words that Charlie Nicholas has had today.

Speaking to Sky Sports about his team of the year, Nicholas said: "Virgil Van Dijk has to be in there. He is the Rolls Royce of the game. Has he been as good as last year? No.

"He looks cumbersome and sluggish at times, but his pace can rescue him. He has pace and purpose on the ball, while having a great awareness of danger. He never jumps in and rarely dives in."

There's no doubting that Van Dijk hasn't quite hit the same levels he did last season, but to say he's been anywhere near to 'sluggish' or 'cumbersome' is ridiculous. Even at his worst, he is still many levels above dozens of other top centre backs around the world right now.

In all fairness, the Scot does finish off on a slightly more positive note by saying: "Is he as good as what people think? Yes, he is that good.

"People are scared to test him. Little balls in behind can make him vulnerable, but who isn't?

"He is a leader and has such a response of being on the ball, whether it be 10 yards or 60. He is good in the air both in attack and defence, he has to be in the team of the season."

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