Virgil van Dijk lauds Jurrien Timber as better than he was at 21 after Man United missed out on star defender

 (AFP via Getty Images)
(AFP via Getty Images)

Jurrien Timber is better than Virgil van Dijk was at the age of 21, according to the Liverpool star, after the Netherlands defender staked his claim for a starting spot at the World Cup.

Manchester United failed to agree a deal for the Ajax starlet in the summer amid reports the Dutch club wanted a fee of £36million - which could prove a snip if he goes on to impress in Qatar.

Van Dijk is almost exactly a decade older than Timber and he said on Saturday that the youngster is further along in his development than he was while back at Groningen at the same age.

“I wasn't nearly as far along as he is now,” Van Dijk told reporters.

“I have nothing but praise for him. He is a great player and a true professional. He has so much potential.

“Hopefully he can develop further. Then he will be all right, I think.”

Van Dijk played alongside the impressive Timber in the Netherlands’ win over Poland last time out which put them on the verge of winning their Nations League group, which culminates on Sunday night at home to Belgium.

He added: “I think everyone knows his role at this point. The coach is very clear about that. Everyone feels that, whether you play or not play. In their case, it’s not easy to deal with. They will always be there when we need them.”