MATTHIJS DE LIGT: THE DUTCH WONDERKID SET TO MAKE HIS MAJOR INTERNATIONAL TOURNAMENT DEBUT AT EURO 2020

The Dutch wonderkid, is set to make his major international tournament debut for at this summer. The Juventus defender will be looking forward to marshalling the defence for the The Flying Dutchmen. Netherlands skipper ’s fitness is a subject of major scrutiny as he continues his rehabilitation from an ACL injury. With him being an uncertainty for the Dutchmen at the Euros, De Ligt can have big shoes to fill.

 

de ligt euro 2020

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With De Ligt being one of the few positives of Juventus’ disappointing season, he will have his eyes set on helping his national side win the Euro 2020. 

 

EARLY BEGINNINGS 

De Ligt was born in Leiderdorp, Netherlands. He joined the Ajax youth academy when he was 9 years old from his local club in Abcoude, just outside of Amsterdam. He made his debut for Ajax’s senior team in a cup game against Willem II scoring from a corner after 25 minutes which made him Ajax’s second-youngest goalscorer ever behind Clarence Seedorf.

He started against Manchester United in the 2017 UEFA Europa League Final making him the youngest player ever (17 years and 285 days old) to play in a major European final. 

In 2018, De Ligt became the first defender ever to win the Golden Boy award, which is assigned to the most impressive young player in European football.

At just 19 years of age, he captained Ajax and helped them win the domestic double and reach the Champions League semi-finals proving that he is a born leader and has an insane personality and leadership despite his young age. 

 

 

His scintillating performances for Ajax secured him a big money move to the Turin side, Juventus, for a fee around €75 Million. He won the Serie A title in his first season there. 

 

 

In 2017 at 17 years of age he made his international debut for Netherlands, making him the youngest player to start for the national team since 1931. During the UEFA Nations League, De Ligt started and played 90 minutes in all four group matches against Germany and France as the Netherlands won the group and qualified for the inaugural Nations League Finals. In the semi-finals, he scored a header against England as his team secured a spot in the final, where the Netherlands lost 1-0 at the hands of Portugal. 

 

 

HE IS NO JOKE

At 21 years of age, there is nothing De Ligt cannot do from a defensive standpoint. He is quick, intelligent, immensely strong and a joy to watch on the ball. The 1.89 metres tall Dutchman masters all technical, tactical and mental abilities at such a young age. His tactical knowledge is proved by his 93% passing accuracy in Serie A this season, making him one of the most stable defenders on the ball. He has the body and seize of a centre-back and has incredible anticipation and reading of the game in 1v1s. He is unbelievably good at marking and tracking the runners as well.

 Nevertheless, what probably defines Matthijs de Ligt the most is his maturity and leadership.

 

 

He is extremely vocal,  constantly raising his arms and giving instructions. Not only does he make others be focused, but he makes them better too. And that’s one of the most valuable skills for a defender. The Dutchman makes his teammates confident and self-assured as, no matter what happens, De Ligt will be there to solve it. He is one of the best all around centre-backs who has been in constant improvement at Juventus. 

 

THE DUTCH DEFENSIVE DEPTH 

Netherlands and their manager has multiple experienced and talented options for the backline with the likes of Stephan De Vrij, Daley Blind, Nathan Ake and Denzel Dumfries. But the Juventus young gun would be a no brainer first option for his manager at Euro 2020. If their captain, Virgil Van Djik can return in time from his rehabilitation for the European Championship and be there with his defensive comrade De Ligt, it would be a major task for other teams to get through this strong line of defence.

 

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The Dutch have been drawn in Group C of Euro 2020 alongside Ukraine, Austria and debutants North Macedonia. While they are expected to comfortably make it out of their group, their opponents will be no pushover either. Ukraine and Austria have well-drilled squads based on astute coaching while how North Macedonia will perform is anybody’s guess in their Euro bow.

With Matthijs de Ligt and an overall talented squad in all aspects, how far will De Boer’s men go this summer?

 

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