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Manchester City have a Van Dijk-like figure at the back, says Dunne

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With one game in hand, Manchester City are back on the top of the table in the Premier League thanks to this versatile defender.

As per Richard Dunne, Manchester City have found the Virgil van Dijk-like figure in the heart of the defense. Yes, we are talking about the versatile center-back Ruben Dias who has been in excellent form ever since his arrival. The Portugal international signed a six-year deal while joining the club last summer for a price of £61 million. Aided by his strong performances, Pep Guardiola’s side managed to make a comeback in the Premier League.

Moreover, Dias was awarded as the player of the month in November last year. A similar effect was shown by Van Dijk when he joined Liverpool and took the club on top. However, since his injury, the Reds have been losing their way of playing and are struggling in the domestic league. Dunne feels that Dias has been a reflection of the Dutchman for City. The 23-year-old has transformed the defense and acts as a leading figure for Guardiola’s side.

A key figure.

“The 5-2 defeat to Leicester in September was a shambles for City. But it’s what they did next that counts – they went out and bought Dias and he has been brilliant for them,” the ex-City skipper told Sunday World. “I think he has changed that City team, helped get the best form out of John Stones. With the way they play, City will always create chances, they are now looking so confident going forward because they are so solid at the back.

“Dias isn’t what you’d consider a typical Guardiola player. He’s solid, he is good on the ball, but his first job is to defend. I was impressed with his first interview at the club when he said, ‘I’m a winner, I am a leader’. City didn’t want another ball-playing center-back, they needed a central defender who could defend, who had that mentality of keeping a clean sheet, keeping his focus on doing that, and leaving it to the attacking players to score. It’s not far off what Liverpool did with Virgil van Dijk. Once they got Van Dijk in, everything else seemed to just work well.”

“Manchester City will be very, very hard to stop,” he said. “I can’t see any weakness in the City side. No one else is creating chances like them, they look to be a far happier squad than anyone else in the top six. City look like a side who are taking great pleasure in keeping clean sheets, they have Joao Cancelo able to move from full-back into central midfield, and they have that tactical nous that everyone else seems to be lacking. City were always vulnerable to counterattacks, now with Dias in the side, they stop them before they start.