The departure of Ridgeciano Haps has left a gap in the AZ Alkmaar line up which talented youngster Owen Wijndal is ready to fill.

  • By Michael Bell
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He may only be 17 but the excitement already surrounding Wijndal’s talent in Alkmaar is massive. He has been with the AZ Academy since he joined from Haarlem in 2010 and quickly rose through the ranks to become a regular with Jong AZ in the second division last season, making 24 appearances. His form impressed coach John van den Brom who handed Wijndal his first team debut in an away match against PSV Eindhoven. Wijndal played the full ninety minutes in a 4-2 defeat, which made him the youngest ever debutante for the club at 17 years and 68 days. This was his only first team appearance of the season, with Ridgeciano Haps holding down the left-back slot.

A move to Ajax was rumoured this summer but Wijndal is fully committed to AZ and is set to compete with Thomas Ouwejan to be first choice left-back this season.

Wijndal has been a regular for Netherlands at every youth level up to U19.

Style of play

Wijndal has featured at centre-back at times in the AZ Academy but his future definitely lies on the left side of defence. He has all the attributes of a modern full back, with Wijndal as comfortable going forward as he is at the back. His strongest assets are his pace and tackling ability, but Wijndal also has excellent technique with the ball at his feet. He is still only 17 and has much to learn but he has the potential to be one of the most gifted players to come out of the AZ Academy.

What to expect from Wijndal this season

Wijndal will hope to permanently remain with the first team and battle Thomas Ouwejan for the left-back slot. Even if he doesn’t feature week in week out in the Eredivisie, Jong AZ’s promotion to the Eerste Divisie last season means Wijndal will gain plenty of experience against tougher opponents than he has faced before which will only aid his development.

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