Holland’s van Dijk unperturbed by Koeman’s criticisms
Holland centre-back Virgil van Dijk has responded to Ronald Koeman's criticism of his playing style, saying he is unaffected by the comments but admitted he is working on his weaknesses.
The Dutch coach made his concerns known to van Dijk after Holland's 2-1 defeat by France in September, when the 27-year-old defender was at fault for conceding the hosts' second goal, the Express reported.
"I told Virgil within 30 seconds of the end of the France game what I thought," the 55-year-old Koeman said then.
"Virgil has to improve... sometimes he is a little too laid-back. That needs to change... because of the strength and power he has, van Dijk is too laid-back."
However, the Liverpool defender said he was not rankled by the former Everton manager's comments.
"No, it does not bother me at all," he told Dutch newspaper De Telegraaf.
"There are times when I am less sharp. I work on that and I get help from coaches and fellow players. It happens to many players, but it's about whether those moments are punished."
Koeman, an accomplished defender during his playing days, also spoke of van Dijk's centre-back partner in the national fold.
Ajax Amsterdam's 19-year-old starlet Matthijs de Ligt has already captained both club and country, and is looking for a move away from the Dutch Eredivisie - a decision supported by his national team coach.
"The intensity of the Dutch league is lower, like the competition," Koeman was quoted as saying on Sport.com.
"It's normal that a player of his quality, sooner of later, decides that the moment has come to take a step forward and seek new challenges with bigger clubs and competitions."
Van Dijk, a £75-million (S$132m) signing from Southampton, is also a huge fan of the precocious teenager and is ready to offer his opinion on de Ligt, should his club consult him.
"He is already very far, especially at this age," van Dijk said.
"A good defender, good boy, calm, knows what he wants and, hopefully, he makes the right choice in his next step."