Just three days after making his much publicised return to the Southampton starting line-up, Virgil Van Dijk has once again managed to get his name plastered over all the largest news outlets.
The International break can be a painful and frustrating time as a football fan; not only because we’re often starved of entertainment, but also because of the endless stream of transfer focused news and gossip, that emanates from the various international camps.
Players back in their home country and away from their club’s press officer are often free to essentially speak with whoever they (or their agent) want, about whatever they (of their agent) want.
When asked about his future on the South Coast, Van Dijk responded “Halfway through the season, maybe we can see what’s possible” before going on to claim that he has “no regrets” about asking to leave the Saints.
In isolation, the quotes really aren’t that bad, and similar quotes have been made by plenty of players before whilst on International duty. However, add a little context and it’s understandable why these quotes have left so many Southampton fans angry with the Dutchman.
First and foremost, he’s continued to show almost no regard for our club. This behaviour is remarkably insensitive and some would say immature – almost playground like – as he comments on an issue that should now be put to bed or at least filed away, and untouched until further action can actually be taken.
Secondly, after wearing our colours for a mere 90 minutes in a single fixture, Virgil has entertained questions regarding his future. I’m sure that I’m not alone in hoping he’d focus primarily on helping us to put points on the board and keep clean sheets, before starting to vocalise dreaming about Champions League nights?
Let’s not forget that last weekend he got the nod over both Wesley Hoedt and Jack Stephens too, who had done nothing wrong to lose their place in the starting line-up.
We know that you want to leave Virgil. You’ve made it quite clear, and any possible suitors most certainly know that too, but at the moment (whilst employed by SFC) it would serve your cause better to use action on the pitch instead of words off of it.
So with that considered, what would have been wrong with simply deflecting the question?
Or even giving a generic “All I’m focused on is Southampton” PR answer?
I for one hate those dull as dishwater comments, but they are commonplace for a reason, and I can’t help but feel this situation is a prime example.
You want to leave? That’s fine. But at the very least respect the club that you signed a six year contract with, and show at least a drop of respect for the fans who backed you throughout your return from injury.