Jon Walters believes Manchester City defender Vincent Kompany remains streets ahead of new PFA Player of the Year Virgil van Dijk.
The former Premier League striker, who recently announced his retirement, says the Liverpool defender must match the Belgian’s longevity before the pair can be considered equal.
Kompany, who is on the cusp of a fourth Premier League title as Man City captain, has seen the latter stages of his career blighted with various injuries.
Nonetheless, he has still played 15 league games for City this season, with all-but one resulting in victory.
Liverpool boast the Premier League’s tightest defence thanks largely to the influence of Van Dijk and the Dutchman has been mentioned among some of English football’s greatest defenders.
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However, Walters suggests the praise comes prematurely.
Speaking exclusively to 888sport, he said: “You have got to go with Kompany over Van Dijk for winning the Premier League as captain. To be up there with the best you have to be winning things.
“Virgil Van Dijk has had a great 18 months and as good as he’s been you have to be doing it for at least four, five years before you can be considered right up there.
“Look at Ramos, Busquets, Pique. Those players are the world’s best because they’ve been doing it consistently winning trophies, leagues, Champions Leagues.
“There is a good probability that Virgil Van Dijk is going to be captain next year and he just needs to keep it up, keep doing it. Like Vincent Kompany who has been doing it for so many years.
“He’s older now and injuries have taken their toll but they’re right at the top of the league and he’s still played a major part this season.
“I was speaking to a Burnley player who played at City and asked him what Kompany is like. He said he relishes those big occasions. He said he’s unbelievable.
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“There were plenty of times when I would drop deep and look to pass the ball off and you know for a fact that Kompany would be coming right through the back of you. And he’ll get away with it because he’s a nice guy and very articulate guy.
“He gets away with a lot but I like that because I try and do the same. They are different players but by virtue of winning the league and being so consistent over the years it’s Kompany for me.”
Read the full 888sport interview with Jonathan Walters including his thoughts on what is like to live a life of a professional footballer in the modern era