Kenny Tete has been included in Danny Blind’s first squad for the Netherland’s integral Euro Qualifiers as a season where he was just hoping for first team football at club level has begun swimmingly.

  • By Chaka Simbeye
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tete ajaRicardo Van Rhin’s injury at the beginning of this season posed an opportunity for young Kenneth Tete to claim a starting berth but not many would’ve foreseen him being named in the Danny Blind’s first Netherlands preliminary squad. What makes Tete so special is that he is different from the archetypal ultra-attacking right-back, for instance the likes of Paul Verhaegh, Daryl Janmaat and Gregory Van Der Wiel.

“I thought, Huh, weird how fast it can go,” said Tete upon hearing of his callup. “If I’m selected or not, this is a great incentive to continue that way,” continued Tete per De Telegraaf.

Tete is currently part of a youthful Ajax team which has seen the likes of Jairo Riedewald, Riechedly Bazoer and Daley Sinkgraven as Ajax looks to expediate their development by introducing them into the first-team at an earlier age. Tete’s tussle with Van Rhin will provide an interesting subplot to the season as Ajax look to compete on both the Eredivisie and European stages.

“People say that we are too young a team. It is indeed young, but I think it’s too exaggerated. We are doing well. And the preselection of Jairo and me is a compliment to the program. They’ve seen it evidently good, “Ajacied Kenny Tete found who was surprised with his place in the pre-selection of Orange per De Telegraaf.

Tete has played as Ajax have won their first 2 games against AZ Alkmaar and came on as a substitute for Van Rhin as Ajax won their third game as they have not conceded a goal in the Eredivisie. The 19 year-old who signed a new 3 year contract in late July is also adept at playing in a central right-back role as he did with Jong Ajax last season but expresses a hope to develop further as a right-back.

“I’m actually a right back, but I’ve been playing central right for the past eighteen months with the Ajax Reserves. But with Ajax 1, I would expect to focus on the back position again,” said Tete per the Ajax website upon signing a new contract.

Tete adds balance to Ajax’ defence as left-back Mitchell Dijks is the forward-roaming overlapping fullback while Tete is more about staying deep and helping Ajax build play forward by staying available as a passing option for teammates. Tete can boast completing 88% of his 32 passes per Whoscored while making 3 tackles, 3 interceptions and one clearance per game this season as he seeks to become a mainstay in this Ajax side.

The early signs are promising as De Boer chose to rest him against NEC for an important game away at FK Jablonec in the Europa League in which they drew and secured progression to the Europa League group stage as well as another clean sheet. It is said that Ajax can’t get excited over ‘scoreboard journalism’ but they are definately on the right track. Tete is highly regarded within that group as Football director Marc Overmars rates him highly.

“Kenny has been playing at Ajax for ten years. He knows the club and has been with the selection for a while. He’s very strong physically. I myself was a left winger and I know that you’ll have a hard afternoon if Kenny is your opponent. It’s up to him now to get into the first team,” said Overmars per the Ajax website.

Tete will need to improve his ability in the air but stern competition for a starting role with Van Rhin could serve both their development alot of good. It is a hope that Tete doesn’t get distracted by his Dutch National Team callup and can continue on an upward trajectory as there is no telling the heights he could reach.

Chaka Simbeye (69 Posts)