It’s the endless manufacturing line of expertise, soccer’s nice academy and moulder of a number of the most interesting gamers to grace the attractive sport.
Johan Cruyff, Marco van Basten, the De Boer brothers and Frank Rijkaard within the Seventies and 80s. Dennis Bergkamp, Edgar Davids, Patrick Kluivert, Edwin van der Sar and Clarence Seedorf within the 90s. Wesley Sneijder, Rafael van der Vaart, Toby Alderweireld and Christian Eriksen within the 2000s and 2010s. All of them began at Ajax.
Predictably the most recent generation were cherry-picked by Europe’s top sides. After playing pivotal roles in Ajax’s run to the Champions League semi-finals in 2018/19, Frenkie de Jong joined Barcelona and Matthijs de Ligt went to Juventus.
Donny van de Beek and Hakim Ziyech spent one other season in Amsterdam however accomplished strikes to Manchester United and Chelsea respectively this summer time. Sergino Dest, at simply 19, adopted De Jong to Barcelona in the identical window.
But, as all the time with Ajax, one era makes approach for the subsequent and the crop of 2020/21 are set to make a reputation for themselves on the European stage as soon as once more, starting with the go to of 2019 Champions League winner and Premier League champions Liverpool.
The matchday one fixture is dwell on BT Sport 2 HD from 7pm on Wednesday 21 October, as membership soccer’s biggest competitors takes centre stage as soon as once more.
Right here BTSport.com assess the brand new Ajax kids able to shine and description just a few names you would possibly hear a little bit extra about within the coming months.
Joined: Aged 8
Regardless of his tender years, Ryan Gravenberch already appears to be like a star within the making. The midfielder turned Ajax’s youngest-ever Eredivisie participant in September 2018 at simply 16 years and 130 days previous, breaking the report held by four-time Champions League winner Clarence Seedorf.
The next season Gravenberch established himself within the first staff, earlier than Covid-19 reduce brief what promised to be a breakthrough marketing campaign. This season he has featured repeatedly in Erik ten Hag’s three-man midfield and appears a ready-made alternative for De Jong.
Gravenberch is a silky-smooth participant. Defensively he’s disciplined positionally and stays deep to make interceptions. On the ball he’s fast and agile sufficient to dribble previous opponents and cozy passing to his entrance three.
At 6ft 2ins and nonetheless with room to fill out, he ought to develop right into a dominant presence in midfield. It won’t be for Ajax although, with Gravenberch opting to make use of Mino Raiola as his advisor suggesting it received’t be lengthy earlier than the super-agent brokers a switch away.
Ryan Gravenberch is Ajax’s youngest-ever participant
Joined: From Fortuna Sittard in 2018
The participant Ajax hope will substitute Matthijs de Gentle, at 6ft 3ins and with a crop of truthful hair, Perr Schuurs positively appears to be like the half.
They recruited the defender from Fortuna Sittard in January 2018, on the time a second-division Dutch aspect, the place he’d been named captain at simply 17 years previous. He was loaned again to Fortuna for the rest of the season and subsequently led his aspect to promotion to the Eredivisie.
Began in Amsterdam
9 gamers to have featured within the Premier League this season have beforehand performed for Ajax.
Schuurs is strictly what you count on from the archetypal Ajax defender. The 20-year-old is an distinctive passer out from the again and reads the sport exceptionally nicely to snuff out hazard. He repeatedly begins assaults from deep with pinpoint balls to extra superior team-mates.
His solely earlier style of Champions League soccer got here a substitute after Ajax went right down to 9 males within the chaotic 4-4 draw with Chelsea. Ten Hag will hope to launch Schuurs into calmer waters this marketing campaign.
They charge him on the worldwide stage too. He was referred to as as much as the senior Netherlands staff in September, although he has but to earn his first worldwide cap.
Perr Schuurs was captain of Fortuna Sittard at simply 17 years previous
Joined: From Sao Paolo this summer time
Ajax’s large summer time arrival was the £14million buy of Antony from Brazilian aspect Sao Paolo the place he’d impressed on the suitable aspect of assault.
Typical of a Brazilian ahead, Antony is a field of tips and beats his defender with an array of flicks and stepovers. However there’s substance beneath the model – he recorded six assists and 4 targets for Sao Paolo.
And it’s been a dream begin to life within the Dutch capital for Antony. The 20-year-old scored the one objective of the sport on his debut in opposition to Sparta Rotterdam earlier than netting the winner in opposition to Vitesse Arnheim on his third look.
Together with his compatriot David Neres nonetheless easing himself again in after final season’s severe knee damage, Antony may play a key function for Ten Hag’s males in his maiden marketing campaign.
Antony has scored two successful targets in his first 4 Eredivisie appearances
Place: Attacking midfield
Joined: Aged 13
With 16 targets in 39 appearances for Jong Ajax, Jurgen Ekkelenkamp was a star for the second staff earlier than breaking into Ten Hag’s first-team squad.
Ekkelenkamp is a skilful, inventive attacking midfielder who makes and takes goalscoring alternatives. Ajax’s academy preaches the TIPS mannequin – Method, Perception, Character and Velocity – and he has all 4 in abundance.
The perfect of the very best
Notable current Ajax academy merchandise:
Donny van de Beek
Frenkie de Jong
Matthijs de Ligt
One in all final season’s targets noticed the then-teenager management a ball drilled into him completely, feint two defenders and thrash house into the roof of the online.
One other noticed him together with his again to objective, flicking the ball round his marker and clipping the ball previous the goalkeeper.
“He’s a typical product of the academy,” Ten Hag mentioned of the 20-year-old. “A technical nd clever participant. And he performs with braveness, braveness and braveness.”
Used principally as an alternative up to now this season, Ekkelenkamp might not begin in opposition to Liverpool on Wednesday. But when Ten Hag’s character evaluation is something to go by, he’ll don’t have any worry ought to he enter the fray.
Attacking midfielder Jurgen Ekkelenkamp was hailed by coach Erik ten Hag
Joined: Ajax Cape City from Burkinabe aspect Rahimo in 2017
Lassina Traore is in line to change into Ajax’s nice No 9.
Zakaria Labyad has began all 4 of the Eredivisie clashes up to now, however is a extra pure attacking midfielder with simply three targets in 17 league appearances. Antony and Neres function out huge, the Dusan Tadic false 9 experiment is over and Klaas Jan-Huntelaar – by Traore’s personal judgement – is getting on a bit at 37 years previous.
“He requested me if I had a PlayStation, I instructed him I’d offered him on FIFA as a result of he was too previous,” Traore joked of his first assembly with Huntelaar. “He mentioned that when he’s the Ajax coach he’ll ship me again to Burkina Faso.”
However what he lacks in respect for his elders, Traore makes up for in tempo, motion and ending. The Burkinabé has netted 21 occasions in 31 Jong Ajax appearances and as soon as in 5 for the primary staff.
This marketing campaign, the 20-year-old has featured off the bench in all 4 Eredivisie matches up to now and it seems solely a matter of time earlier than he displaces Labyad.
Born in Burkina Faso, Traore was snapped up by Ajax Cape City in 2017 earlier than making the transfer to Amsterdam in 2019. He’s already made an impression together with his nation too with eight caps and three targets for the west African nation.
Lassina Traore has already performed eight occasions for Burkina Faso
Joined: From Danish aspect Nordsjaelland this summer time
One other addition this summer time, Ajax signed Ghanaian midfielder Mohammed Kudus for round £7m from Nordsjaelland to assist fill the void left by Van de Beek’s departure.
Kudus featured in quite a lot of positions for the Danish aspect final season – as a false 9, a typical central midfielder and within the No 10 function.
What Ajax do know is that he’s a fast, athletic participant with a harmful burst of acceleration to get previous defenders. The twice-capped Ghana worldwide, a product of the famed Proper To Dream Academy in his homeland, has a pure aptitude and confidence on the ball with the technical capacity to match.
He’s not afraid of expressing himself on the pitch, with one chic help for Nordsjaelland coming by way of a nonchalant dink over a defender from a standing begin.
Kudus has began as a right-sided midfielder in two of Ajax’s matches up to now, nevertheless it’s unclear the place his long-term future lies for Ten Hag’s aspect. After selecting up a knock he’s again match and prepared for the go to of Liverpool.
Mohammed Kudus joined from Danish aspect Nordsjaelland this summer time
Joined: Aged 12 from Feyenoord
Alongside Daley Blind, Schuurs began the primary three Eredivisie fixtures in what appeared Ten Hag’s first-choice centre-back partnership.
However Schuurs was substituted off in opposition to Vitesse and in his place got here Jurrien Timber. The 19-year-old then changed Schuurs within the beginning line-up within the defeat to Groningen.
As is customary with Ajax centre-backs, Timber is a ball-playing defender who made his identify for the second staff final season. However Timber can be an aggressive defender who is powerful within the deal with in opposition to opposition forwards.
Of Aruban and Curacao descent, he joined Ajax together with his twin brother Quinten who performs additional ahead in midfield.
One Eredivisie begin might seem scant preparation to face Mohamed Salah, Roberto Firmino and Sadio Mane however Ajax have by no means been afraid to throw their kids in on the deep finish.
Jurrien Timbers joined Ajax together with his twin brother Quinten