New Celtic signing Gustaf Lagerbielke is excited to be following in the footsteps of his “inspiration” Virgil van Dijk.
The centre-back signed for Celtic on Wednesday after moving from Swedish league leaders Elfsborg.
The 23-year-old was brought in following the departure of fellow Swede Carl Starfelt to Celta Vigo and has many more compatriots to choose from if he wants to find more encouragement that he can be a success in Glasgow, including the likes of Henrik Larsson and Johan Mjallby.
Lagerbielke admitted the Swedish connection was a factor in moving to Celtic, given his countrymen adapted so well to life in Scotland.
But it was another former Celtic player who Lagerbielke looked up to as an aspiring defender.
“Virgil van Dijk, who has been here before, is a huge inspiration,” he said in his first media conference at Celtic Park.
“Also how he is outside of the pitch, he is very professional and keen on getting better all the time. And on the pitch of course with his leadership, duelling and passing, he is a really good player.
“He was a great player for Celtic and did a lot of good things, so he is an inspiration.”
Lagerbielke joins Cameron Carter-Vickers, Stephen Welsh and summer signing Maik Nawrocki in the ranks of Brendan Rodgers’ central defenders.
When asked to tell Celtic fans what kind of player he is, he said: “I would describe myself as a player who loves to win, who does everything for the team. I can handle both short and long-range passes, good in duelling and in the air and hopefully scores a few goals.”
Lagerbielke won his first Sweden cap earlier this year and is determined to do everything he can to be a success in his career.
“I put a lot of time and effort into optimising how I am on the pitch – sleep, nutrition and everything around that,” he said.
“If you are a footballer and you feel well in your life then you perform better on the pitch.
“It’s the whole package now, you just try to get it all as good as possible to perform on the pitch.
“In my former teams I have taken a lot of responsibility myself to develop and invest in my career.”