Last season couldn’t have gone better for Guus Til as he excelled in the Eredivisie and made his Netherlands debut. He is now AZ Alkmaar captain and looking to enhance his reputation further.

  • By Michael Bell
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Born in Zambia to Dutch parents, Til ventured to Mozambique and Namibia before he finally settled in Amsterdam. He started his footballing career with SV Diemen before joining the AZ Alkmaar academy in 2010.

Til was small and slight in his youth and considered giving up football after being resigned to the bench for the U17 side. However, AZ’s coaches saw something in Til and convinced him to keep going and eventually he developed physically and made his first team debut during the 2016/17 season.

He would make 16 appearances during his first season in John van den Brom’s side, mostly from the bench, and scored five times. Last season he was one of the first names on the AZ teamsheet and the midfielder excelled. In 33 Eredivisie games, Til scored nine times and provided four assists. This form was good enough to earn him his first Netherlands cap against Portugal last March.

Til has been linked with moves to the traditional top three in the Netherlands but he decided to pledge his allegiance to AZ, signing a new bumper deal until 2023. Van den Brom has rewarded the youngster for his loyalty and he goes into the new season with the captain’s armband.

Style of Play

The 20-year-old is an attacking midfielder in the mould of a Davy Klaassen or Marco van Ginkel. He is always looking to exploit spaces in the opponents half and loves to drive into the box to get on the end of chances.

Til is a tall and mobile midfielder, while he has been working hard on adding more strength to his game. Til can also be deployed deeper on the pitch and likes to get stuck into tackles when needed in a box-to-box role against stronger sides.

The weakest side of Til’s game last season was his finishing in front of goal and it’s something he will need to work on in order to reach the top. Nine goals was a decent return, but for the positions he gets into and the chances he creates, double figures should be his aim.

What to expect from Til this season

Last season was a good breakthrough season but now Til has a weight of expectation on his shoulders. He is the new AZ captain and one of the club’s stars after the departure of both Wout Weghorst and Alireza Jahanbakhsh.

Things haven’t started well for the club after the Europa League exit, and Til will need to rally his troops ahead of the new season if they are to once again challenge for the top three.

Til will be aiming to add more goals and assists to his game, stay in the Netherlands fold and possibly gain the attention of Europe’s biggest sides. A Liverpool fan since his youth, Til dreams of one day playing at Anfield.

Michael Bell (59 Posts)