Celtic man Liam Scales talks up admiration of Liverpool's Virgil van Dijk
New Celtic defender Liam Scales has admitted that he looks up to Liverpool superstar Virgil van Dijk after the Dutchman made his name at Parkhead.
Scales signed for the club last week in what was a surprise move from League of Ireland side Shamrock Rovers. The 23-year-old told 67HailHail that Ange Postecoglou sees real potential in him as fans wait to see whether he’ll make his debut against Ross County on Saturday.
The Republic of Ireland defender can play either at left-back or centre-back. As of yet, it’s unclear where Postecoglou sees him fitting into his starting XI.
But Scales, who was a regular at centre-back with UCD before changing positions at Shamrock, has identified van Dijk as the player he looks up to most.
“The obvious one for me as a defender in recent times would be Virgil van Dijk.
“He’s been one of the best players in the world over the last few years. The time he spent at Celtic he was successful, he developed and became a top player. I remember seeing him at Celtic and thinking, ‘he’s unbelievable’.
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“In recent times it would be him, the levels he’s gone to, and how Celtic helped him get to those levels.”
Liam Scales adds versatility to a Celtic defence that’s gaining strength
Scales has a lot of questions to answer in terms of whether he’s ready for the step-up. He’s undoubtedly impressed during his time in his homeland, but now he’s making as big a step up as he’ll ever make in his career.
Admiring van Dijk is the easy bit. Actually following in his footsteps? That would take some doing, but Scales can perhaps even draw comparisons to the big Dutchman’s initial arrival in Glasgow back in 2013.
So many questioned whether Virgil would be good enough to compete at Celtic. Especially after a nightmare performance from him away to Shakhtar Karagandy. But he managed to answer those calls and become Scottish football’s best player during his two years here.
Granted, we could be talking about a player who doesn’t even play in the same position. Scales could have been signed with a view to being a left-back. Considering that’s where he’s been playing for Rovers, Celtic will clearly have been monitoring him based on those performances.
What it is of course is extra depth in two key areas. That’s ideal when you take into account how stripped of quality we were in defence only a couple of months ago.
Scales comes across well and appears to have his head screwed on straight. Let’s see just how close he can come to the impact made by the famous Dutchman he still looks up to.