His name has been on everyone’s lips in Amsterdam for years but will Abdelhak Nouri finally make his first team debut this season?
- By Michael Bell
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Born and raised in Amsterdam, Nouri joined the Ajax academy at the age of seven and has worked his way through every youth level, making his debut for Jong Ajax in the Eerste Divisie last season, going on to make 19 second division appearances, scoring one goal and adding six assists.
The midfielder was handed his first-team debut by Frank de Boer in a friendly with Hamburg last January but is still awaiting his official bow with Ajax, having watched his youth team friend Donny van de Beek beat him to it last season.
Nouri has been a prominent figure in Netherlands youth sides for the past few years, starring in the 2014 U17 European Championships which saw the Oranje make the final, while he captained the U19 in the Euros earlier this summer. He has already turned down an approach from Morocco, stating he sees his future with the Dutch national team.
Nouri’s excellence at youth level has seen a number of top clubs make their interest known including Manchester United, but the youngster wants to remain in his home city for the foreseeable future and has a contract until 2020.
Style of play
The pint-sized attacking midfielder is a joy to watch on the pitch, with his technique and skill on the ball a cut above most at his age. Nouri, who is mainly an attacking midfielder but can also play on the wing, has outstanding vision, a velvet touch and is a dead-ball specialist. He has been compared to Ajax legend Johan Cruyff and Wesley Sneijder in the past, while he models his game on Andres Iniesta.
Off the ball, Nouri is a leader on the pitch, captaining both the Ajax and Netherlands U19 sides, and demands the most from his teammates on the pitch, whatever the scoreline. Nouri has lots of positive aspects to his game, but the only worry around him is his lack of strength and height. However, he has so far made up for this with his excellent technique and reading of the game.
What can we expect from Nouri this season
Nouri is the biggest Dutch talent in his age group and every fan of Ajax and the Netherlands national team has been waiting years for the midfielder to break into the Eredivisie so we can finally see if he can become the player we all expect.
Finally, this could be the season we have been waiting for with the increase in the number of substitute’s clubs are allowed likely to mean Nouri makes most of the matchday squads for Peter Bosz’s squad. Once he does make his debut, Nouri may be hard to drop and will become the natural successor to Davy Klaassen, when he decides to depart.