Donny van de Beek – The underrated AFC Ajax star

Tottenham Hotspur v Ajax - UEFA Champions League Semi Final: First Leg
LONDON, ENGLAND - APRIL 30: Donny van de Beek of Ajax celebrates as he scores his team's first goal during the UEFA Champions League Semi Final first leg match between Tottenham Hotspur and Ajax at at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium on April 30, 2019 in London, England. (Photo by Laurence Griffiths/Getty Images)

Let’s talk about Donny van de Beek – the player who scored the only goal at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium last week, as Ajax host Spurs with a 1-0 advantage tonight.

AFC Ajax are enjoying a dream 2018-19 campaign, their best one in more than 20 years. And while everyone is talking about Matthijs de Ligt and Frenkie de Jong, there is one player who is shining under the shadow of his compatriots.

Donny van de Beek is probably the most underrated star of this talented Ajax side. He may not be as hailed as some of his teammates, but the job he has done for the club this season is outstanding.

The 22-year old has scored 16 goals and provided 11 assists across all competitions. He is one of the four players in the squad to have double digits in both categories.

Van de Beek is Ajax born and bred, having joined the club at the age of 11. The youngster made his debut for Jong Ajax in the Eerste Divisie against Sparta Rotterdam in January 2015 and won the AFC Ajax Talent of the Future award at the end of the campaign.

His debut for the senior team came in November 2015, in a Europa League game against Celtic, while his breakthrough season came in 2016-17 when he became a regular first-team player and played in the UEFA Europa League Final against Manchester United.

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The Dutchman has grown into one of the most important players for the club since then. He is an all-around midfielder, who is technically-gifted, as many Ajax players are. The 22-year old is also strong, energetic and dangerous in front of goal, proving himself on the big stage this season.

Van de Beek has shown excellent performances in the Champions League, helping his team to reach their first semi-finals of the competition in 22 years. He noted assists against Bayern Munich and Real Madrid and scored in the club’s last two European games – away at Juventus and Tottenham.

He was instrumental in Ajax’s run in the KNVB Cup as well, netting four goals and providing an assist in the competition, as the Jews won their first trophy for the season with a 4-0 victory over Willem II in the Final.

The midfielder made his debut for the Dutch national team in November 2017. He has played only five games for the Netherlands so far, patiently waiting for his place in the starting eleven.

Zinedine Zidane is closely monitoring Van de Beek’s development, as reports suggest that the Real Madrid boss is considering him as an alternative signing to Paul Pogba this summer. Borussia Dortmund, Tottenham Hotspur, and Napoli are also interested in the services of the young midfielder.

What do you think about Donny van de Beek’s performances in the 2018-19 campaign? Please share your opinion in the comment section below.

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