Big Match

Van Dijk can cement claim for PFA award

Virgil van Dijk has improved his central-defensive partners and, along with Andrew Robertson, turned the left half of the defence from a weakness to a strength.
Virgil van Dijk has improved his central-defensive partners and, along with Andrew Robertson, turned the left half of the defence from a weakness to a strength.PHOTO: REUTERS

Defender is top contender for Best Player if he can lead Reds past United and secure title

As Manchester United surged to victory at Stamford Bridge on Monday, the cameras panned to the directors' box. John Terry was pictured because he is Chelsea's most successful captain, but he has another pertinence.

Terry is the last defender to be named PFA Player of the Year in 2005, and the only one in a quarter of a century. No specialist centre-back had been voted Footballer of the Year by journalists since Kenny Burns in 1978.

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A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on February 23, 2019, with the headline 'Van Dijk can cement claim for PFA award'. Print Edition | Subscribe