Matthijs De Ligt developed his technical skills as a midfielder before being convinced to move position and lead a new generation of a defender.
Matthijs De Ligt has endured a difficult first season in Serie A with Juventus following a 75 million Euro transfer from Ajax.
The young defender though has risen to the challenge and the pressure that has come with such a move.
After a couple of standout seasons leading Ajax from the back, he became one of Europe’s most sought after players. While he had his difficulties, he has improved with every game.
He reveals to Champions Journal how his skills were originally developed to play in the midfield. But as the football changed to a more build from the back style of play he changed position and became a pioneer.
“I played a lot in midfield, scored some goals, provided assists.”
“Then suddenly they told me it would be better for my career to go one position back, to center-back.”
“At the beginning, I was thinking, I don’t like being a defender.”
“But now I’m starting to realize that the way I was brought up as a midfielder is helping me.”
“Since the emergence of that Barcelona team, the ‘tiki-taka’ team, everybody has wanted to play from the back.”
“To play from the back, you need defenders who are good with the ball. That’s why technical ability is really important in my role.”
“That is the thing that I started to realize and that is good also.”
Now he is enjoying a domestic and international partnership with some of the world’s best defenders.
“It’s great to play with one of the best players in the world Van Dijk.”
“Also at Juventus with Bonucci and Chiellini.”
The 20-year-old admits he is only getting better the more he plays alongside old heads.