Ajax’s U17’s triumphed in the prestigious Future Cup at the weekend with several young talents catching the eye in Amsterdam. Michael Bell profiles three of the Ajax talents set for a big future. 

Naci Ünüvar

Before even kicking a ball Ünüvar had broken a record, with the fourteen-year-old the youngest player to ever feature at the Future’s cup. You would never have guessed that watching Ünüvar in action as he dazzled throughout and fired in five goals during the tournament including a double in the final against Juventus, earning him the golden boot.

His first in the final saw his quick feet take him through two defenders before he prodded the ball into the bottom corner and his second was a fiercely taken first-time strike from the edge of the box.

For many fans watching Ünüvar for the first time, a star was born, but the versatile attacking midfielder has been highly regarded for years in Amsterdam and was heavily linked with a move to Manchester United in 2016.

Already drawing comparisons to Lionel Messi, the Netherlands U15 international, who has Turkish roots, has become a permanent member of Ajax’s U17 squad recently and has dazzled with his dribbling technique, trickery and eye for goal.

His rapid progression means a debut for Ajax’s U19’s won’t be too far away and it won’t be long before he is stepping foot on the Johan Cruyff ArenA pitch.

Brian Brobbey

Unuvar may have stole the show during the future cup, but Brian Brobbey also starred with three assists and four goals in five matches including a hat-trick against PSG.

The 16-year-old striker is a phenomenal talent, scoring 28 goals across the U17 and U19 squads this season, making him the top scorer for Ajax.

Brobbey is built like an ox, but does not just rely on his strength to bully defences. He is also blisteringly quick and has the technique to score with both feet and with his head. As a target man, Brobbey also links the play excellently, and has it all to become a deadly striker for the first team in the near future.

The brother of PSV defender Derrick Luckassen, Brobbey will soon sign his first professional contract with Ajax to ward off interest from Manchester City and Chelsea. He will then look to impress for Netherlands at this summer’s u17 European Championships in England before making his debut for Jong Ajax next season.

Ryan Gravenberch

Only 15-years-old, but Gravenberch is already a regular at U19 level for Ajax and featured in four of the club’s matches during this season’s UEFA Youth League, becoming the youngest ever scorer in the tournament.

Gravenberch helped Ajax win the future cup last year, and was named the MVP of the tournament. He played and scored twice in the U19’s 7-2 demolition of ADO Den Haag on Saturday but then joined up with the U17’s to help them lift the trophy once again.

The classy central midfielder, who has a similar playing style to Paul Pogba, can be seen gliding through games with his height, strength and dribbling ability making him difficult to stop. He is also a fantastic passer and scores goals regularly with his driving runs into the box.

Clubs from around Europe have been circling for the midfielder, but he is set to sign his first professional contract in Amsterdam as soon as he turns 16 in June. He will be looking to impress for Netherlands at this summer’s U17 European Championships and a debut for Jong Ajax next season can’t be ruled out.


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