Rio Ferdinand Says Liverpool's Virgil van Dijk Is Not Player of the Year

Rob Blanchette@@_Rob_BFeatured ColumnistFebruary 5, 2020

ISTANBUL, TURKEY - AUGUST 14: Virgil van Dijk of Liverpool FC and Jordan Henderson of Liverpool FC look on during the UEFA Super Cup match between FC Liverpool and FC Chelsea at Vodafone Park on August 14, 2019 in Istanbul, Turkey. (Photo by TF-Images/ Getty Images)
TF-Images/Getty Images

Rio Ferdinand has said Liverpool defender Virgil van Dijk should not be named the Premier League's Player of the Year despite the Reds' dominance in England.  

The Dutchman collected the award last season, alongside the PFA's Player of the Year, but Ferdinand has said there are others who should be ahead of the centre-back this term.

Speaking at the launch of BT Sport's new 4-3-3 initiative (h/t the Mirror's Hassan Rashed), the pundit gave his opinion on his favourites for individual honours: 

"He'd get my vote for best defender, best centre-half, but he wouldn't get my vote for Player of the Year. I think there's a few other people probably vying for that accolade.

"But [Van Dijk] has been tremendous. I think he's a fantastic footballer. Calm, cool, collected, strong, quick. All the attributes you'd want in a modern-day player.

"... I think Jordan Henderson has been very good. I think [Sadio] Mane has been my favourite player when I watch Liverpool if I'm honest.

"When I watch Liverpool he's the person who gets me off my seat more than anyone. He'd definitely be up there.

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"[Jamie] Vardy's been good, scoring those goals. Kevin De Bruyne - when you watch him he just purrs. So there's a few names there [for Player of the Year]."

ISTANBUL, TURKEY - AUGUST 14: Sadio Mane of Liverpool FC, Virgil van Dijk of Liverpool FC and Goalkeeper Adrian of Liverpool FC celebrate after winning the UEFA Super Cup match between FC Liverpool and FC Chelsea at Vodafone Park on August 14, 2019 in Ist
TF-Images/Getty Images

Van Dirk collected his individual awards last term with Liverpool winning the UEFA Champions League and finishing second to Manchester City by one point in the top flight.

Liverpool remain unbeaten at the Premier League summit this season and hold an incredible 22-point advantage over the champions, who sit in second spot.

Jurgen Klopp's defence did struggle to claim clean sheets earlier in the season, earning only two from their opening 15 league games. However, that trend has been reversed, and Liverpool have conceded just one goal in their last 10 league encounters.

Henderson's leadership qualities have seen his stock rise at Anfield, and the England international was named the Three Lions' Player of the Year on Jan. 14.

It would be surprising to see the top gong taken by any player outside of the Liverpool squad after such a season of unrivalled dominance.

Vardy's return to form for a resurgent Leicester has written headlines this season, and the 33-year-old has 17 goals from 23 Premier League appearances during the current campaign.

However, the Foxes have seen their title aspirations evaporate after winning just three league games in their last nine, collecting only 11 points from a possible 27 on offer.