Virgil van Dijk must earn Southampton captaincy, says Mauricio Pellegrino
By Zinny Boswell
Last Updated: 14/09/17 4:27pm
Southampton boss Mauricio Pellegrino has refused to confirm whether Virgil van Dijk will remain as his captain.
Van Dijk was handed the team captaincy last season following the departure of Jose Fonte but, after submitting a transfer request this summer, his position at the club has been called into question.
"For me the captain is something that the team may decide and is something that you have to deserve, rather than the manager give the charge to be a captain," Pellegrino told reporters.
"Now when he (Van Dijk) is not playing you cannot give the captaincy to someone who's not playing, but obviously Virgil is…was one of the leaders."
Pellegrino revealed to reporters he would be making a late call on whether the 26-year-old would be involved in the squad for their trip to Selhurst Park as they take on Crystal Palace, live on Sky Sports, on Saturday.
Van Dijk, who has not featured for the Saints since January after sustaining an ankle injury, played 90 minutes for the U23s earlier this week as they lost 4-0 to Aston Villa.
"Virgil was training well - he played 90 mins the other day in the reserve game but tomorrow we will decide," he said.
"Hopefully he will be getting better every single week but I am happy with that because I think everybody right now is ready to be part of the team."