Former Ajax youth coach Wim Jonk has spoke about the development of Dutch international centre-back Matthijs de Ligt.

De Ligt captained Ajax to a double last season and the Champions League semi-finals before moving to Juventus for a fee of around €85 million.

Speaking to Voetbal International, Wim Jonk revealed that playing De Ligt in midfield during his time in the youth teams aided the 20-year-old’s development into one of Europe’s top defenders.

He said, “It was clear that he had the most potential as a central defender but we deliberately let Matthijs play in midfield for a long time, so that his technique, handling speed and game insight could improve.

“This was not in the interest of the trainer who wanted to win with his youth team, because Matthijs in the back had of course been a rock in the surf. But it was in the interest of Matthijs, because he now distinguishes himself from other defenders with his qualities on the ball, his understanding of the game and his leadership qualities. ”

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