Despite just turning 17 in June, Mitchell Bakker has been a first team left-back for Ajax’s Under-19’s for about a year. Having made his U-19 debut at the ripe age of 15, Bakker is the perfect example of playing above your age group if you’re good enough. Some may say that he’s only being selected because of Ajax’s dearth of talent at the position. I think it’s because the youth coaches see how much potential the Dutch U-17 International has.
I covered Bakker’s strengths and weaknesses in detail a few months ago, but here’s my ten cents on the defender. The youngster is physically excellent: quick to accelerate, fast on and off the ball, and has an athletic build. Bakker’s great technique with the ball is represented with his cheer-inducing free kicks and pin-point cross accuracy. If his teammates can create space for him to bomb down the left wing, Mitchell has the speed to get to the ball and the ability to send in an accurate pass to create a scoring chance.
However, a lot is left to be improved upon on the other side of the pitch. Mitchell Bakker is always seemingly lagging behind his marker, most often times because he is the last defender to sprint back. His tackles are often inaccurate and haphazard. Despite these flaws to his defensive game, I believe that his raw talent and evident skill with the ball can ensure he’s a superb two-way player for Ajax: a great representation of Totaal Voetbal.