Louis Van Gaal opted not to call up Virgil Van Dijk when he was Netherlands manager due to three key reasons, a report claims.
Van Dijk starred for Celtic in the Scottish Premiership while Van Gaal was in charge of the national team, but had to wait until 2015 – a year after Van Gaal had left for Manchester United – for his international debut.
The 28-year-old has since gone on to become a Premier League star, first with Southampton and now with Liverpool – while he is now captain for the Dutch national side.
A report from The Athletic has given insight as to why Van Gaal was reluctant to work with Van Dijk during his time in charge of the Oranje.
First, it is claimed that he “didn’t defend forward”, waiting for the action to develop rather than being proactive.
Next, his scouts told him that Van Dijk could often lose concentration in battles with opponents, letting his markers free.
Finally, he was warned of a sense of complacency that creeped into the defender’s gameplay.
With Van Dijk now one of the prime candidates to win the Ballon D’Or, Van Gaal must be looking back with a great deal of embarrassment – having preferred the likes of Terrence Kongolo and Bruno Martins Indi.