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.”