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Klopp: Van Dijk will thrive in leadership position

Leadership is a tremendous quality to have in an individual, but with that comes a fair bit of responsibility and pressure along the way.


Just like a football manager, a club captain is bound to be compared to their predecessor. In many ways, Jordan Henderson has had to walk in the shadow of Steven Gerrard ever since taking over the armband from the iconic figure.


Quite often the discussion about Henderson focuses on what he lacks instead of the positive aspects of his play.


To put it simply, Gerrard is one of those once in a generation players and comparisons are simply unfair on the incumbent.


With Henderson suffering a injury interrupted start to the current campaign after his participation in the World Cup, the armband has been in the possession of James Milner who naturally has carried the role with aplomb.


On Wednesday night against Red Star Belgrade with the two main leaders not involved, a new candidate for the role emerged.




While it is clear Virgil Van Dyk has that type of leadership aura about him, Jurgen Klopp explained to The Guardian that it wasn't as simple as gifting the armband to the big Dutch Centre Back.


A clear process had to be observed.


"When I came in I built a players’ committee," Klopp said. "There were five-six players including Lucas Leiva, Adam Lallana and Phil Coutinho. 


"This team has grown now and they all have very, very demanding and confident players in the squad so you can decide who of them you want.


" It was a close decision. Dejan [Lovren] was close, Adam was close.  They all had their votes. The players see it in the right way – that the players could do the job."


In the end, Van Dijk and his countryman Gini Wijnaldum got the nod as third and fourth choice leaders.


Klopp is excited by the prospect of what his two new leaders can bring to the role.


" Virgil is still young, he looks more of a man than he really is. There is nothing wrong with that and he can still improve.


"If you see and hear him you think there is big distance between him and you because he looks impressive.


"There will be a day for sure when he will wear the armband and there will be a day for sure when Gini will wear the armband too.


"These two guys do a similar thing in Holland for the national team it is a natural thing for them."


However if you are thinking that the glowing praise dished out to Van Dijk and Wijnaldum means that Klopp is leaning to a permanent change in leadership anytime in the short term then prepare for disappointment.


“I really think Milly and Hendo are doing an outstanding job for the club and the team,” the manager said. 


"Being ambassador for the club on one side and impressive for the team on the other side is brilliant. They combine pretty much everything."


While it is true that every player is a leader of sorts as they aim to play their role on a match-to-match basis, it is vitally important that you need strong hands on the wheel to steer the team in the right direction.


In stark contrast to a few years ago, it is reassuring to know that there is now a growing band of leaders to fill the role when called upon to do so.

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