Virgil van Dijk (Peter Byrne/PA)
Virgil van Dijk (Peter Byrne/PA)

Kevin Palmer

Vincent Kompany has sparked a huge debate after naming Liverpool centre-back Virgil van Dijk as the best defender of the Premier League era.

Speaking at a press event ahead of his testimonial match, Manchester City legend Kompany was asked to name his top centre-back since the Premier League kicked-off in 1992, with Paul McGrath, John Terry, Rio Ferdinand and Nemanja Vidic among those in the mix for the title.

Even though Van Dijk has yet to win the Premier League title, Kompany nominated the Dutch defender as the top centre-back from the last quarter of a century of English football.

“I look at players that really impressed when I played against them at central defence and I would bring it back to Virgil van Dijk,” he told reporters.

“It’s a weird one because he hasn’t been on the scene for as long as these names we mentioned, John Terry, Rio Ferdinand, these guys were there for a long, long time.

“From what I’ve seen in terms of having an impact on the team and a defender is never about himself, it’s about his communication with other guys and how you make your team more solid.

“The Liverpool before Van Dijk and the one after him, it’s a completely different set-up and I’ll give him that one because of that.”

Kompany went on to suggest the City he left at the end of last season is unrecognisable from the club he signed for in 2008, just as the club was taken over by investors from Abu Dhabi.

“When I came here, I thought I want to win the Premier League, but realistically it wouldn’t happen with City,” he added.

“I heard about the new owners and I was lucky to see my development go with the improvement of the team and peak at the right time when the team were winning.

“That allowed me to stay in the team. So many owners come in and change things but it was the leadership style that helped the club to go forward.

“We are all part of the same journey so this leadership style makes this journey very special. I’m confident this club will keep going forward.

“To me, when I was here, it was same old Man City, but you realise when you come back that it’s a big club now. We’ve all had some kind of role to play, it’s special to be a part of this and be appreciated by such a big club.”

Online Editors

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