RowZ Scouting: Frenkie de Jong

Frenkie de Jong: Every football fan has heard of him. He’s been linked to FC Barcelona all summer and the young midfielder could still move to arguably the biggest club in the world at some point in his career. Ajax have shown great determination to retain his services for another season but knowing that Frenkie only wants his current club or Barca, it’s pretty clear which his next club will be. In my opinion Frenkie could be one of the world’s best midfielders in years to come but it would be better for him, Ajax and FC Barcelona if he continues his development in Amsterdam.

I’ve met him a few times now at De Toekomst and his personality will only help him grow into a future star. Frenkie takes time for his fans and he’s always in for a small talk. Whenever you see him, he’s always smiling. He’s not only one of Europe’s biggest talents, but he’s also really likable off the pitch.

Frenkie De Jong started his career at his local club ASV Arkel. He was born in 1997, and in 2005 Willem 2 attracted him to their youth setup. After 10 years in Tilburg, Ajax wanted to get him and famously paid 1 euro (and loaned out players to his club) to complete the move. He went back on loan but as he didn’t get a lot of time on the pitch Ajax recalled him and he would be one of the most crucial Jong Ajax players that season. The next season saw the youngster rewarded with his first team debut. He impressed and secured his place in the starting eleven.

An injury sadly ended a sensational season for de Jong. He was reveling among the hype that surrounded every performance and his confidence was testament to his fine form. High quality performances bring with them a great deal of pressure and Frenkie is learning to adapt to that.

Everyone is in love with Frenkie, but why? He’s only 21 years old but it looks like he’s been playing at this level for a decade. He always knows what to do, picks the right passes and although he is a midfielder, he’s also very, very useful as a centre back. When you look at Frenkie, you feel like he’s made for Barcelona and their style, a move to the Catalan giant seems almost inevitable.

But in my opinion he’s not ready just yet. He got in to the first team last season yet he started no games as a midfielder, so first let him be one of the most important Ajax players this season, before thinking he could move to the next level – the highest level.

There are dozens and dozens of videos that capture everything that is good about the youngster, compilations of gifted touches, illusive movement and perfectly weighted passes. It’s easy to watch such highlight reels and forget that there must be bad moments too. But, there is one piece of skill that stands out. ‘The Frenkie-Turn’ – It’s not an official name of course, but De Jong uses it a lot and although it’s a risk, for him it works to create space for himself and his teammates. Those are the moments that bring a smile to your face and he is the kind of player that you love to see with the ball at his feet, breaking the lines with slick movement and exceptional passing.

With Ajax facing the added demands of European football this year, as well as pushing for the Eredivisie title and KNVB Beker, it could be Frenkie’s year.

The return of Daley Blind will allow de Jong to focus on his preferred midfield role and will allow the youngster to cement a starting place dictating the play. This will be his first season starting in midfield and with the attention he’s getting, he really needs to perform well. I have no doubt whatsoever that he will show the world how much of a good player he is and how bright his future could be. I think he could be one of the best midfielders in the world if he makes the right choices. Like I said before, staying at Ajax would be one of those. In the future he could be one of the greats, but for now he’s not ready.

Everyone, including myself, are really excited to see what he can do this year. It would be great if Ajax could perform well in the Champions League, the world’s elite competition and a platform for Frenkie de Jong to show the world his incredible talent.

By @FrenkieTheYoung with artwork by Ellis Thompson

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