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Van Dijk Scores As Saints U23's Beat Stoke City
Monday, 18th Sep 2017 21:32

Virgil Van Dijk opened the scoring as a strong Saints U23 side beat Stoke City at Staplewood this evening.

Saints put out a strong side against Stoke City on Monday evening with Virgil Van Dijk again starting in a back four that included Matt Targett on his return from injury and it was Targett who took the corner from which Van Dijk opened the scoring after 14 minutes.

The Dutch defender could have had another with Target again the provider, but this time the ball was cleared off the line, but the lead was doubled on the stroke of half time with Callum Slattery firing home.

It was the Van Dijk/Targett combination again in the second half with this time the Dutchman being fouled in the area and Targett despatching the spot kick to make it a convincing night for the academy side, although this was to be the end of the scoring in a 3-0 win.

With Van Dijk getting 90 minutes under his belt it increases speculation that he will start against Manchester United on Saturday, the big question though is that if he starts will it be at the expense of Maya Yoshida with the manager sticking with the back four formation that he started with at Crystal Palace or will he go with the three central defender line up that he finished the game with.

From a Saints perspective it was another step forward for Virgil Van Dijk although his appearance on Saturday if he plays, is bound to provoke a reaction in the home crowd, however he has to return sometime and Saturday is as good a time as ever.

On Saturday he looked sluggish and was struggling with his timing especially in the air, this game along with another week of training however will go a long way towards sharpening his fitness.

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Photo: Action Images

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aceofthebase added 21:36 - Sep 18
VVD wasn't tested in any way tonight. Hardly broke into a trot and provided little information to his match fitness. Bench position this weekend

SaintNick added 22:53 - Sep 18
I think his fitness is fine he just needs to find his sharpness, I think he will start on Saturday

bstokesaint added 00:02 - Sep 19
I concur Nick. This all seems set up for a VVD return. Bet Sky are kicking themselves they didn't televise this one. Maybe the board will get an email request from them asking if we can hold off VVD's return until the Liverpool game!

There's not much room for sentiment in the game I'm afraid and it would be a shame to see Yoshi dropped, but even though he's been solid for me unfortunately he must realise like everyone else when you have a £60m+ world class defender he generally picks himself.

SaintBrock added 20:59 - Sep 19
Can't see it myself, running about in the rain for 90 minutes against raw kids tells us nothing about his preparedness physically or mentally for 90 minutes against Lukaku, Mata & Co. Doubt he will start.

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