Jairo Riedewald has convinced Danny Blind to include him in his final squad for the Netherland’s integral Euro qualifiers next month as both Ajax and the Dutch National Team, have a star on their hands.

  • By Chaka Simbeye
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riedewald ajaThe rise of Jairo Riedewald has been rapid from his two goals to gift Ajax a win on his debut against Roda JC, playing as a holding-midfielder against European juggernauts Barcelona to nailing down a first team place this season and being called up to a Dutch preliminary squad last week. This tough 18 year-old is currently part of an Ajax defence that hasn’t conceded a goal since the start of the Eredivisie and in two games versus FK Jablonec.

β€œThe position of holding midfielder is a complicated one. Jairo has a lot of quality, though. He is very agile, quick and physically strong. He reminds me a bit of Frank Rijkaard. He’s perhaps even more agile, although he’s not as strong in the air,” De Boer stated per Goal.com’s Stefan Coerts.

Frank De Boer compared Riedewald to former Barcelona player and coach Frank Rijkaard who could play both centre-back and defensive-midfielder. One would’ve thought the young defender would’ve been phased by the rough and tumble, fast-paced world of first-team football as in a UEFA Champions League qualifying tie versus Rapid Vienna, he was on the wrong end of a horrific tackle. However, he has come out the other end, still willing to charge at attackers.

His most eye-catching ability is certainly his ability on the ball as he is calm and measured and plays with the presumed experience of someone much older than him. He allows Ajax to play out of the back and can can effectively recycle play from deep with his ability to play accurate long balls forward. He is also a player heavily involved in Ajax’s build-up play as his, short, accurate and direct passes ease transition.

At the tender age of 18, his first team berth just doesn’t encourage development for himself but for Joel Veltman to be a more commanding presence in defence as he is Ajax’s more experienced starting centre-back. Veltman, is no longer the defender chasing back to make last man tackles as playing with Riedewald allows him to sit deep and read play while exercising his decision-making. His training-wheels in Moisander are definitely off as it is time for him to take the next step in his development for Ajax and the Dutch National team.

Riedewald, can also play as a left-back and as a defensive midfielder as mentioned earlier but it seems that the youngster wants to play at centre-back. He will have to sustain this good period of form in order to keep John Heitenga on the bench and make the role his own this season as it seems he is already on the right-path.

Riedewald makes 1 tackle, 2 interception and 2 clearance while his early season passing statistics are exemplary. Riedewald makes 76 passes per game at success rate of 95% with 7 successful long balls and one key pass per game further illustrating his brilliance and calm on the ball at such a young age. Riedewald also manages to win two aerial battles per game.

Riedewald will need to improve his decision-making, especially when it concerns the decisions of holding his position and stepping out to challenge a player. The youngster certainly has bright future ahead of him based on the talent he currently displays. Getting a National Team callup at 18 is no simple feat and one certainly hopes that he can continue progressing at Ajax.




Chaka Simbeye (69 Posts)