Liverpool defender Virgil van Dijk has warned new Manchester United signing Harry Maguire about the pressures of being the world’s most expensive defender.
United completed the £80m deal for Maguire from Leicester on Monday, surpassing Van Dijk’s fee of £75m when he joined Liverpool from Southampton in 2018.
Can Maguire cope with the pressure? Five key things to know…
- Maguire started his career at Sheffield United.
- He has risen through the divisions to become the world’s most expensive defender.
- He was a key part of England’s World Cup semi-finalists in Russia last summer.
- His fee surpasses that of Van Dijk who held the record previously.
- The Dutchman has warned Maguire of the pressures a big fee brings.
The 26-year-old has seen a meteoric rise in his career in a relatively short space of time. The defender was playing in League One as recently as 2014 and has since become a key defender in Gareth Southgate’s England set-up.
The £80 million United paid Leicester for his services is a world-record fee for a defender. Liverpool’s Virgil van Dijk held that record previously and the Dutchman admitted Maguire will be under more pressure due to the price tag.
“Good luck to him,” he told the Guardian.
“I can’t say anything about that because there was always going to be a time when it was going to change. That’s the market. He doesn’t have any influence on that but I wish him well. The price comes with pressure but it doesn’t change too much because you always have pressure at big clubs like Man United. But I wish him well.”
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‘Just focus on doing what you love’
Van Dijk coped brilliantly with the pressure of playing for a big club like Liverpool and having such a big fee attached to his move from Southampton.
When asked how he coped with that pressure, the defender said: “Just focus on doing what you love to do and play your best game. Get your qualities out of the pitch, enjoy your game and don’t think about the other things.
“It is not easy to completely shut off all the pressure. Personally, I like to put things in perspective. Quite a lot of things are more important than playing football and what we do, we are blessed. We can do what we love to do and also to play for Liverpool – they are such a big club. You need to enjoy it but the pressure will always be there.”
Both Manchester United and Liverpool will be hoping for a strong campaign this season and the two sides will first clash on October 19 at Old Trafford.