Harry Maguire is England’s Virgil van Dijk, Says Jamie Carragher

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Last summer, Manchester United signed Harry Maguire from Leicester City, and the deal made him the world’s all-time most expensive defender (£80 million). The man whose transfer fee he surpassed, was Virgil van Dijk, who’s also a centre back. Liverpool paid their de facto farm club, Southampton FC, £75 million to acquire his services.

With these two stellar central defenders moving over on big money deals to arch-rivals in northwest England, it’s only natural they would draw a lot of comparisons. Liverpool legend Jamie Carragher, now a pundit on Sky Sports, did just that by saying that Maguire is England’s Van Dijk. Carragher also had a lot of praise for VVD’s partner in central defense, Joe Gomez.

virgil van dijk

“I think Gomez, if the European Championships would have been on in the summer, I think he’s the one that would have gone alongside Harry Maguire,” Carragher said on Sky Sports The Football Show.

“I think Harry Maguire is the Virgil van Dijk of England if you like, he’s that big commanding figure and he’s the one who’s almost the first centre-back on the team sheet.”

“There was a back three in there at the last tournament, there was John Stones who’s almost fallen away a little bit really. It looked like there was decent competition at centre-back, but for me it looks like Joe Gomez.”

“Even though he’s had some injury problems, I think the first time he was fit Gareth Southgate put him straight back in, that shows what he thinks of him.”

It’s extremely high praise for Maguire, when you consider where Carragher ranks Van Dijk (second overall) among world footballers.

In 2019 the Dutchman was named UEFA Men’s Player of the Year, and finished runner-up for the Ballon d’Or and The Best FIFA Men’s Player. He also won PFA Player of the Year and Premier League Player of the Season in 2018-19. As for Gomez, the sky’s the limit for the 22-year-old who had to miss out on the 2018 World Cup due to injury.

Now he’ll miss the Euros, as will everyone else, with the coronavirus pandemic forcing the 2020 European Championships to be rescheduled in 2021. It’s an interesting idea put forth by Carragher, what kind of partnership Gomez can form with Maguire once England are playing competitively again?

jamie-carragher

Who would be the best centre half pairing for Gareth Southgate’s squad?

There’s no doubt that Van Dijk has helped to make Gomez better, and it’s likely the United Captain would do the same when they coalesce together with Three Lions.

Obviously we won’t see that for awhile, but there is hope we could see the Premier League returning to action before too long.

A few clubs have already re-opened their training grounds, and there is a target of playing games again, albeit behind closed doors, starting in mid-June.

joe gomez

That is of course, the most optimistic scenario, and contingent on the advice of public health officials. When it does restart, it will be especially meaningful for Carragher, Van Dijk and Gomez.

Liverpool FC is essentially champions-elect, needing just two more wins to clinch their first top flight league title since 1990.

Paul M. Banks runs The Sports Bank.net, which is partnered with News Now. Banks, the author of “No, I Can’t Get You Free Tickets: Lessons Learned From a Life in the Sports Media Industry,” regularly contributes to WGN TV, Sports Illustrated, Chicago Now and SB Nation.

You can follow Banks, a former writer for Chicago Tribune.com, on Twitter and his cat on Instagram.

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