West Ham United talent Tunji Akinola has admitted he is trying to take bits of Virgil van Dijk's game and put them into his own.

The 21-year-old defender is yet to make his debut for the first-team at West Ham, but is an important member of the Under-23 squad, having worn the captain's armband on three occasions this season.  


Akinola is always eager to improve and insists that he looks closely at a number of star defenders, such as Van Dijk, Sergio Ramos, Fabio Cannavaro and Giorgio Chiellini.

He admits that he is trying to take things from the greats, such as Van Dijk, and put them into his own game to make it stronger.

He explained to West Ham's official site: "Virgil van Dijk is obviously at the top right now and I do watch him a lot.

"But I wouldn’t say it’s just him. Sergio Ramos, Fabio Cannavaro, Giorgio Chiellini as well… I try and take a bit from each of them."

Reflecting on one performance that stands out for him, Akinola said that it has to be Cannavaro in the 2006 World Cup.

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"A specific performance that stands out to me would be Fabio Cannavaro back at the 2006 World Cup.

"It was the final, but he just won everything and cleaned up everything and Italy ended up World Cup winners."

Van Dijk will be bidding to lift his first Premier League title in the coming weeks as the top flight aims to return to action in June.