The Dutchman has been widely praised for helping the Reds win a sixth European Cup in his first full season at Anfield.
Van Dijk’s form, since completing a £75million move from Southampton in January 2018, has led to comparisons with Vidic, who won five Premier League titles with United during a hugely successful eight-year spell in England.
But Pieter Huistra, who gave Van Dijk his senior debut with Dutch club Groningen in 2011, thinks the defender ‘has more’ to his game than Vidic.
He told talkSPORT.com: “I’m bias anyway, so I would choose Virgil. He has more, he has a little bit more.
“Vidic, of course, without any doubt was a very good player, he played in a top team.
“In my view, Virgil has everything. He has the flair, he has the technique, he has the passing, he has the defensive leadership, he has the personality that catches people’s eye.
“I just admire the strengths of certain players.
“There have been very good defenders in the Premier League and when you [Van Dijk] are talked about in that group of players then it’s a good honour.”
Van Dijk featured in Willem II’s youth teams before Huistra took him to Groningen in 2010.
After starring in Groningen’s reserve team, he made his senior debut at the back-end of the 2010/11 season.
Former Rangers winger Huistra said: “When he went to Groningen he left his home, so for him it was a big step at that time, two-and-a-half hours away from his mother, who he’s close to.
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“In Groningen he was living with another player. For somebody at 18, 19 it’s a big step, he had to learn to cook for himself and look after himself.
“He came into a new environment, he had to get used to how things work. He picked it up and in the reserve team, the coaches helped him a lot.
“I saw him play every week in the reserves, everyone could see that he would become a first-team player.
“He trained with the first-team for the last two months of the season and came on as a substitute and then started a few games. It was a natural progression. He worked hard and became a better footballer.
“We saw that he had some good qualities on the ball; his passing and his heading was already very good.
“His positioning as a defender had to improve, but he was willing to learn and listen and he improved quickly. He wanted to become better so that’s always a good characteristic.”
Huistra, now assistant manager at Pakhtakor Tashkent FK in Uzbekistan, left Groningen in 2012 – and Van Dijk departed a year later to join Celtic.
Impressive spells with the Hoops and Southampton saw Van Dijk become the world’s most expensive when he joined the Reds for £75million.
He was part of a defence that conceded just 22 league goals last season and his heroics in Liverpool’s Champions League triumph over Tottenham have made him a contender for this year’s Ballon d’Or.
Van Dijk, who will be competing against world superstars Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo for the award, could become just the fourth defender to win the prestigious prize.
Huistra, 52, added: “He’s one of the contenders. There are always other players as well, but he should certainly be considered.
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“A defender is often overlooked, but defending is a very important part of football. Attacking always starts from the defenders. Virgil is important in that, he can direct from the back.
“I always said to my central defenders, ‘you’re always the playmakers of the team, you decide how the attack will start’.
“So if you have a defender like Virgil, who is quick and direct and has a good diagonal pass or a pass in behind the opposition, it’s very effective and important.”