Every weekend we pick out one under-23 player from around Europe and analyse their performance to provide you with an in-depth scouting report.
This week, we head to the Netherlands to focus on Ajax’s 2-1 defeat to Heracles in the Eredivisie and the man we analyse is 18-year-old Justin Kluivert – the son of Barcelona legend Patrick.
Goals – 0
Shots – 2 (tied 4th)
Shots on target – 1 (tied 3rd)
Touches – 57 (9th)
Passes – 31 (9th)
Key passes – 3 (2nd)
Dribbles – 3 (1st)
Dispossessed – 1 (4th)
At 5″7′ his diminutive frame stands out because of the complete contrast to the players around him but his low centre of gravity gives him great agility which he used frequently to turn in behind Heracles full-back Bart van Hintum.
Operating on the right of a front three with Kasper Dolberg playing through the middle, he had the licence to attack his man but as is often the case with talented young prospects, his end product was imprecise.
Getting into threatening positions was a far easier task for him than making use of it but every time he got on the ball he was direct and had his full back on the backfoot.
The 18-year-old is a classic Ajax winger in that he looks to beat his man and then get the ball immediately into the box rather looking to cut inside and shoot.
But then he also intelligent movement as demonstrated with a solid strike as he cut in from his wide berth only to see his effort saved by the host’s stopper Bram Castro.
A promising display even if the result didn’t go Ajax’s way.
16th min – The teenager was a constant outlet on the right and but his crossing needs a little work, as exemplified when he received a ball with plenty of time and space only to overhit his ball into the box and into the hands of Castro.
25th min – Showed brilliant balance to drop the shoulder and sprint in behind right-back Van Hintum but again the end product was poor and with men in the box his cross sailed away from danger.
32nd min – Perfectly-timed run from the right was well slipped in by Amin Younes and his first-time shot was hit with power but straight at Castro who parried over the bar.
47th min – Lofted ball over the top found him in space and he sped away to the byline and fired a wicked ball to the near post but Kasper Dolberg couldn’t find a clean connection.
55th min – Heracles countered from an Ajax corner but he tracked back to fill in at the centre of defence and intercepted a dangerous through ball.
58th min – Silky first touch to turn the ball around Van Hintum on the halfway line, burned in behind the empty space but as he got to the edge of box delayed and then blasted a wayward cross out into touch.
Tidy passing, direct and positive when on the ball just the end product was lacking from an otherwise solid performance.
He was subbed in the 84th minute as Ajax chased an equaliser but his ability is obvious and it’s a case of allowing the teenager to fully establish himself.