Amin Younes provided assists for both of Ajax’s goals against AZ in their tough draw away from home. Two assists is great, and yet I still found myself shouting at him and getting irate at my computer screen. Not since Gudelj have I been so frustrated with an Ajax player.
In a similar way to Gudelj, Younes is no stranger to shooting from outside the box, even when there appears to be better and safer options. Like most distance shots, they fall short of the mark, and leave everyone sighing and wondering what if. What if he passed to a striker, or ran down the wing? We’ll never know. That being said, Younes does know how to find the net on occasion, even picking up a goal in the Europa League clash with Celta Vigo.
So, why is Younes so frustrating to watch? Simply put, it’s his unwillingness to move the ball when the chance is clear. Amin prefers to hold onto the ball to put himself in a better position, and thinks this has to be done solo. Moving to a better position to play the ball or take a shot is a fundamental aspect of attacking football, but using your teammates to get there is a better solution 9 times out of 10. I’ve watched countless chances go to waste when Younes decided to cut inside or attempt a nutmeg, only to fail and lose possession. It’s a terrible trait to have, and it frustrates teammates to no end.
So, why does Younes start every game? Well, it seems to me that I can sigh in frustration as Younes tries to move through a physical being three times in a row, then cheer his name as he tries it the fourth time and slots the ball in the corner of the goal. In short, Younes has talent; he has quick feet and an eye for the corners of the goal. He reminds me of Viktor Fischer back in the day, able to create a goal out of nothing, but at times being wasteful.
Perhaps it’s a lack of competition on the left wing that keeps Younes in a guaranteed starter position. It wasn’t long ago we had Viktor Fischer and Ricardo Kishna (remember him?) in that role. Kishna himself appearing at times to be the next big thing, but his attitude was abysmal and now he’s gone. On the right wing you’ve got Černy, El Ghazi, and Traoré fighting for the position, and I think Younes needs someone to challenge him for that left wing.
My frustration in Younes has been relatively recent. I’ve been excited by his presence in the team for a long time, and I was more forgiving of his passing reluctance and wastefulness last season. Now, however, we have no Champion’s League, and no title. Rivals Feyenoord are sat at the top of the league, and we’re dropping points against AZ. It’s no longer okay for Younes to constantly lose the ball in promising positions or blast it five feet above the crossbar. He needs discipline in the same way that Gudelj does, and look at what’s happened to him.
I honestly believe that Younes is better than what we see, he just needs to focus and play more as a member of a team than as an individual. Hopefully this is something that Peter Bosz can see and work on in the future, as Amin is a great personality, and I’d love to see him excel with Ajax.