VIRGIL VAN DIJK has been labelled “the best defender in Europe” by John Collins.
And the Celtic No.2 also insisted the classy Dutchman will NOT be quitting the champions this summer, despite the 23-year-old attracting attention from a host of clubs in the English top flight.
Collins said: “I believe there is currently no better centre-half in Europe than Virgil. I watch Champions League football and Premier League football every week and Virgil is as good as anybody who is playing football in Europe.
“Virgil can play for any team so the important thing is he doesn’t think he has to jump ship quick and take the first offer.
“He has to believe in his ability and he can play for a top European club.
“He’s at a great club just now and if he keeps working hard then I’ve no doubt that one day he’ll be at a top Champions League club – I’m talking about one of the mega names in Europe.”
Van Dijk recently revealed his desire to move to a more prominent league to continue his development and enhance his prospects with the Dutch national squad, but Collins insists he is in no rush to leave this summer.
He added: “I am confident Virgil will stay. He is more settled than he was 12 months ago.
“I am in contact with him even though he is on his holidays and he is looking forward to coming back.
“No matter what you read in the papers he has two years to go on his contract, he has lots of good friends here, the fans love him and we love working with him.”
The Hoops assistant gaffer admitted: “At the start of last season, he could have played better. He wasn’t ready mentally in the qualifiers last year, but since then his performances have been superb.
“The Champions League is where Virgil and all our boys want to be playing.”
Meanwhile, Celtic target Mitchell Dijks has reportedly agreed a three-year deal with Ajax.
Dutch reports indicate the 22-year-old Willem II left-back has opted to return to his former club – exactly one year after being released.