Scout report on Ajax wonderkid Matthijs De Ligt who at 17-years-old has become a regular squad player with Europa League Finalist Ajax and made his senior Netherlands debut.
Matthijs De Ligt is one of a new generation of Dutch players to emerge this season, an accomplished defender who The Netherlands and Ajax will be looking to build a ‘new’ team around in the coming years.
Born in 1999, de Ligt joined Ajax aged nine and has always played above his age group due to his level of performances.
A regular for Jong Ajax in 2015/16 playing in the Under-19 Eredivisie, the 16-year-old impressed with his reading of the game and his calmness under pressure.
Trained and travelled with the first team on a number of occasions before making his first start for Ajax and scoring from a corner, this made him Ajax’s second youngest ever goal scorer.
A sting of impressive performances saw De Ligt receive his first called up to the senior Netherlands squad. The game was a 2-0 loss to Bulgaria which saw then manager Danny Blind sacked. It might not have been a success for the team, but it saw De Ligt come on as a half time substitute for his debut.
Style of Play
The young defender has all the attributes to be a world class ball playing centre back. His tacking, passing and aerial ability are all great assist in modern day football.
He can win back the ball with easy with his ability to read the game.
As with most of the players who graduate from the Ajax academy, De Ligt is very comfortable on the ball and at the time of writing has an 87% pass completion rate.
De Ligt timing when making tackles and ability to read the game and win the ball back are exceptional for a player his age.
His aerial ability both defensively and offensively is also a key attribute. As mentioned above his first goal for Ajax came from a corner.
But his main strength is his passing ability and how he can start attacks from the back.
Although he can read the game well a lack of experience sometimes leads to mistakes.
Sometimes long passes are over hit or attempted when it would be better to play it safe
These weaknesses should be improved with more experience and game time and that is exactly what he is getting at Ajax.
The experience of this season and the way he has performed should have been enough to guarantee him more game time next season before moving to a bigger club in one of Europe’s top 5 leagues
His style of play would be a perfect fit for Spanish football but this added to his physical attributes would see him adapt nicely to the English Premier League…….and I’m sure Pep will have been watching as he looks to replace Vincent Kompany.
After being named in the youngest ever side in Eredivisie history last weekend, De Ligt will be hoping for some game time in the Europa League Final on May 24th against Manchester United in Stockholm. If selected he will become the youngest Dutchman to appear in a European final.
The youngster doesn’t lack confidance…. When asked bout facing Paul Pogba and his €100 million price-tag, De Lght replied: “You can’t score with a bag money! I have sometimes heard it said by Johan Cruijff.