Gary Neville admits he got it “completely wrong” about the defending abilities of Liverpool’s Andy Robertson.
The former Manchester United and England captain did not think Robertson was up to scratch a year ago and claimed he would struggle in the big leagues against the best wingers.
One year later and Neville has finally conceded that the wiry Scot has proved him wrong this season: “I got it completely wrong,” Neville told Sky Sports.
“I didn’t think he was good enough defensively. I’d watched him for Scotland and Hull and knew he was good going forward.
“I didn’t think he would be good enough at the top level against the best wingers. He’s proven me completely wrong.”
Most assists in a single Premier League season by a Liverpool defender:
🔴 Andy Robertson (9 in 2018/19)
🔴 Stig Inge Bjørnebye (8 in 1996/97)
🔴 John Arne Riise (7 in 2004/05)
Robertson Carlos breaks the record. pic.twitter.com/BGqdmnpY3C
— Coral (@Coral) March 31, 2019
Along with Trent Alexander-Arnold, Robertson is part of one of the most dangerous full-back pairings in Europe. It’s not only defending that the Scotland international has excelled at throughout the Reds’ excellent campaign.
After 32 games, he has made more assists in a single season than any former Liverpool defender before him, bettering Stig Inge Bjørnebye’s 1996/97 tally of eight in the recent win against Spurs.
The 25-year-old Glaswegian has also created more Premier League chances from open play than any other defender in 2018/19.
Mohamed Salah is the only Liverpool player to have created more ‘Big Chances’ for his team-mates.
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As well as admitting to getting it wrong about Robertson, Neville has also showered praise on Virgil van Dijk and has earmarked him for the Player of the Season Award.
“I’ve not seen a central defender as good as him for a long time,” Neville said of the Dutchman.
“His passing is a joke. He passes the ball like a midfielder. 100% Player of the Year for me, nobody else gets close to him.”
Fans were quick to point out that Raheem Sterling would like to think he is “close” to Van Dijk, especially after scoring 15 goals and providing nine assists.
In a recent poll run by Squawka, it was, in fact, the Man City winger who received the most votes.
Who would you name Premier League Player of the Year right now?
— Squawka News (@SquawkaNews) March 30, 2019
38% of the 21,354 votes were for Sterling whilst Van Dijk ran him close with 34%.
Sergio Aguero, Sam Allardyce’s pick, was the third choice with 22% and players such as Bernardo Silva and Eden Hazard were mentioned by the 6% that selected the ‘Other’ option.