Ricardo van Rhijn 22 Defender Ajax Netherlands
2013 has been…
A comfort zone. When Gregory van der Wiel left Ajax for the bright lights and massive gold bars on offer at PSG in 2012 there was no great panic at the Amsterdam ArenA. Next in line for the right-back berth was Ricardo van Rhijn who slipped seamlessly into first team duties having been blooded sporadically over the previous year. A couple of silly red cards aside the transition has been barely noticeable, Ajax have simply moved from one comfortable on the ball, quick and supremely talented right-back to another.
Very good going forward with excellent delivery, he’s the epitome of the modern full-back/wing-back hybrid. What he lacks will come with experience, the obvious flaws in his game are mostly related to positioning but he has the pace to get him out of trouble on most occasions and with each game he learns a little more about how to defend against varying formations and styles.
He rarely looks ruffled, a defender who often leaves the pitch with a perfectly clean pair of shorts on, his body language can sometimes look a bit lazy. Things come easily to him and domestically he’s in a comfort zone, but it’s not his fault he’s very good at what he does is it?
Something a bit more challenging. Chelsea are reportedly at the front of a queue that also includes Juventus and both Milans and it seems a move is coming, possibly as quickly as January. It will be interesting to see how he fares under a bit more pressure. Hopefully the calm demeanor won’t slip too far, we think he’s more than capable of handling a move to Champions League last-eight club and Chelsea seems like a good fit.
Internationally while he finds himself in and around squads, this is a position where the Dutch have some pedigree with his former team-mate van der Wiel and Feyenoord’s Daryl Janmaat to get past to add to his seven caps. It would be a surprise to see Holland take three right-backs to the summer’s World Cup and while he’s versatile enough to have deputized at centre-back on occasion, as things stand he looks like he might third on a list of two. A move may change things as a brighter spotlight may bring a bit more from him, but we’re sure there’ll be a World Cup in his future somewhere even if next year’s proves to be a bit too soon.
A very good player who now needs to push himself, hopefully the next year will bring a move at some point. If it comes expect good things, will be at the upper end of European football for some time to come.
“So far, life has been a bit too easy for Ricardo van Rhijn. The Eredivisie hardly challenges him but needs to translate that ease from doing the bare minimum to really excelling at Ajax” - Michiel Jongsma, Benefoot
"Full-back Ricardo van Rhijn has helped Ajax keep 18 league clean sheets since the start of last season; more than any other player in the Eredivisie." - Opta
C Strolling, let’s see you stretch yourself a bit, really talented but in need of a challenge to push on from here