Liverpool centre-back Joe Gomez put pen to paper on a new long-term contract with the club earlier this month, and Virgil van Dijk is delighted the England defender is sticking around.
After limited opportunities last season, many expected Gomez to seek more regular football elsewhere in the summer transfer window.
However, earlier this month, the 25-year-old opted to stay at Anfield and embrace the competition for a place alongside Van Dijk in Liverpool’s back four.
The Dutchman has expressed his delight at Gomez’s decision to stay, claiming the former Charlton man is one of the best English players in his position.
As close friends off the pitch, having both worked their way back from long-term injuries this time last year, Van Dijk also claims he spoke to Gomez when he was deciding whether to sign a new deal or opt for a new challenge elsewhere.
“We spoke about it before he signed the deal and I’m just very happy that he’s staying at the club, staying with me. Also I’m happy for the club that he’s signed,” Van Dijk told Liverpoolfc.com.
“He is, in my opinion, one of, if not the best English centre-back around.
“Obviously we’ve both been very unlucky with the injuries we had. Obviously his time will come again and hopefully this season he can show that.”
Meanwhile, Van Dijk has also heaped praise on Ibrahima Konate, after an impressive debut season at Anfield for the Frenchman.
Konate ended the campaign as Van Dijk’s centre-back partner and was Liverpool’s standout performer in the Champions League final.
With Joel Matip also still at the club, there’s a strong argument to say Liverpool have the best set of centre-backs at any team in world football, and Van Dijk says he’s “blessed” to have such good players by his side.
“He’s a very, very good player,” Van Dijk continued when asked about Konate’s first season at Liverpool.
“What I like the most about him is the will to learn each and every day as well.
“Obviously there are loads of things that can improve – and that’s good because he has time, he needs the experience. In my opinion, experience is a big thing for a centre-half to learn and to take with you.
“In his case, I’m very happy to see him develop, I’m very happy to see him shine on and off the pitch, he’s a fantastic character.
“But I can say that about the other two [Gomez and Matip] as well. We are very blessed as a club and I am very blessed to have these players around me as well.”