Liverpool star Virgil van Dijk has heaped praise on international teammate Jurrïen Timber in the wake of the Netherlands’ 2-0 win over Poland in the UEFA Nations League.
Timber, 21, started as part of a back three under Louis Van Gaal and helped the Oranje keep a clean sheet against Robert Lewandowski and company at Warsaw’s Stadion Narodowy, setting up a date with rivals Belgium in the penultimate Group A4 match for both sides with a place in the finals on the line.
And according to Van Dijk, Timber is well ahead of the curve already and has already surpassed him when he was the same age and still plying his trade for FC Groningen.
The Utrecht native, who spent four years in the academy setup at Feyenoord Rotterdam before heading to Ajax for another four years before making his first-team debut in 2019, has become one of the key defensive pieces at club level in Amsterdam and now looks set to take his chances in the national team camp under Van Gaal, who called into question his possible move to Manchester United this summer after serious interest from the Red Devils.
Van Gaal reportedly said that Timber’s place in the Dutch team that would be set to travel to Qatar would be under threat if he made the jump to United in the summer and failed to make an impact at the Theatre of Dreams under his now former boss Erik ten Hag.
Rather than leave for England, Timber instead extended his terms at the Johan Cruijff Arena until 2025 and has continued to shine for de Godenzonen, who are level at the top of the Eredivisie table with rivals PSV Eindhoven in another hotly contested battle in the top flight of Dutch football.
Timber has also performed admirably in the Champions League during the club’s 4-0 thrashing of Glasgow Rangers and 2-1 loss to Van Dijk’s Liverpool.
It remains unclear if Timber will see out his full extension in Amsterdam or if he is destined for departure like so many young Dutch talents before him that have come through the hallowed halls at Ajax, but for the time being, Van Gaal may have been correct with his assessment if the evidence is to be believed.