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Van Dijk named 2018/19 EA SPORTS Player of the Season

12 May 2019

Dutchman becomes the first defender to win the award since his title rival Vincent Kompany in 2011/12

Virgil van Dijk has been named the EA SPORTS Player of the Season for 2018/19.

While he must wait until later on Sunday to see if he will get to lift the Premier League Trophy, the Liverpool defender has already got his hands on a prize that recognises his importance to his team's title bid.

Van Dijk has played in all of Liverpool's 37 league matches so far this campaign, winning 29 times and keeping 19 clean sheets.

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"It's a great honour and I'm very proud," he says.

"Without everyone here at Liverpool, fans and players, it wouldn't be possible so I will definitely give them credit for all of it as well.

"I think the whole season in the Premier League has been outstanding.

"The only thing is we have been competing with another team that’s pretty good. But I think it's a joy to watch, this title race, for neutral fans."

Impact at both ends

With the Dutchman at the heart of their defence, Jurgen Klopp's side have conceded only 22 PL goals this season, the joint-lowest total alongside Manchester City.

Van Dijk has also scored four himself, while he has yet to be dribbled past despite playing every match.

Indeed it has been 62 matches in all competitions since a player successfully completed a dribble past the 27-year-old - an honour held by Mikel Merino for Newcastle United in March 2018 in the Premier League.

He is the first defender to win the Player of the Season award in seven seasons, after Man City's Vincent Kompany in 2011/12.

He also follows in the footsteps of his team-mate Mohamed Salah, who was handed the prize last term.

Stiff competition

Fans had until Thursday, 9 May to vote for their favourite on the EA SPORTS website.

The votes of the public were combined with those of the 20 club captains and a panel of football experts to decide the winner.

Van Dijk saw off competition from six other players to win the award.

The shortlist also included Sergio Aguero, Eden Hazard, Sadio Mane, Salah, Bernardo Silva and Raheem Sterling.

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