Captain a professional team? Check. Play in a European Cup final? Check. Become a full international? Check. Do it all at the age of 17? Check. The amount of accomplishments already claimed by young defender Matthijs de Ligt. Already a mainstay at centre-back for the Dutch giants, he’s one of the biggest prospects in world football. De Ligt has stayed strong in the face of adversity, been a technical and mental leader for the team, and popped up on both ends of the pitch with amazing, match-winning plays. If the sky is the limit for Kluivert then the galaxy is the limit for Matthijs de Ligt.
Having been brought up in the Ajax academy, one can already presume what de Ligt’s strengths are. First and foremost, he’s a great defender. Last-ditch tackles, crucial interceptions, and swooping headed clearances are all actions performed by de Ligt on a weekly basis. He is also an integral part to the passing play Ajax is known so well for; the Dutchman is comfortable dribbling the ball out of the back to free up space for his teammates to make runs. Although the match ended in a loss, de Ligt’s confidence was on full display in the Europa League Final against Manchester United. The youngster maintained a high pass accuracy despite accruing a large number of touches, and his defensive abilities were crucial in damming countless United attacks.
— AjaxDaily (@ajaxdailydotcom) 19 maart 2017
Matthijs is also a big threat physically. Although not quite as speedy as some of his teammates, his 6’2” (1.88m) frame is quite muscular, which gives him the strength to ward off pesky attackers. This also helps on the offensive end, as de Ligt is a constant threat on set pieces. Matthijs de Ligt is almost the textbook definition of a ball-playing centre-half, and at 17-years-old it is actually quite terrifying to think how dominating the Leiderdorp-born teen can one day become.