Premier League

Salisu: Southampton boss Hasenhuttl backs Ghanaian defender to learn to pass like Van Dijk

5:47 PM GMT 30/11/2021
Mohammed Salisu Southampton 2020-21
The Saints boss shares his thoughts on the 22-year-old’s desire to be as good as the Champions League winner

Southampton boss Ralph Hasenhuttl believes Ghanaian defender Mohammed Salisu has a lot more work to realise his dream of reaching the heights of Liverpool idol Virgil van Dijk.

Salisu revealed an admiration for the Netherlands captain ahead of their clash in the Premier League on Saturday.

This season, the Ghanaian, who joined Southampton last year, has been one of the best performers for The Saints, the same club 2019 Champions League winner Van Dijk played for before joining Liverpool in 2018.

“It shows you how much he had to learn that it took so long until he was an option for the starting XI, especially with the ball, he can develop massively,” Hasenhuttl said, as reported by Messenger.

“When you speak about Van Dijk with his long balls and his calmness on the ball, [Salisu] still has a way to go. But there’s no reason why he couldn’t learn it.

“A good thing is that in the centre-back position, the older you get, the better you get because of the more experience you get.

“This is definitely a player that showed this season that he deserved to play from the beginning and I’m very happy with his progress.”

Salisu’s meeting with his idol did not exactly go as fine as he would have wanted as Southampton suffered a 4-0 hammering at the hands of Liverpool in the matchday 13 fixture at Anfield.

The Ghanaian moved to England in the summer last year, signing a four-year contract with The Saints after impressing in the Spanish La Liga for Real Valladolid.

"I think Virgil is a very good central defender and, I would say, one of the very best central defenders in the world,” Salisu said.

"One day, I want to be like him, especially with how he plays and the confidence he has and how he leads the team."

So far this term, the 22-year-old has featured in 13 league games for Hasenhuttl’s side, making the starting team in all but one of the games.

Southampton currently occupy the 15th position in the Premier League ahead of their meeting with Leicester City on Wednesday.