20 Midfielder Ajax Netherlands
Dutch football’s latest young creative midfielder who plays to type by looking supremely comfortable on the ball, possesses great vision and an encouraging range of passing. Stop us if you’ve heard this one before.
2015 has been…
…okay, got his move early but without being really able to say why, we feel a bit underwhelmed by it all.
Ajax are a club who clearly feel they’ve been sloppy. At one point they would have been the ones to snap up Adam Maher from AZ a couple of years ago but they’ve let a few go by without twitching. They weren’t prepared to sit on their hands any longer when it came to Daley Sinkgraven, and it’s not hard to see why.
He is every inch a Dutch midfielder, and we mean that in the most complimentary of ways. Footballers in the Netherlands and at Ajax in particular are taught to be comfortable with the ball at their feet at any chosen moment during a game. Sinkgraven can look so relaxed that he could be playing with a pipe and slippers.
Here’s the thing, and this may be just us, but while this is a really good young footballer we feel slightly cold watching him at the moment. When he first came through at Heerenveen he looked exciting and unbelievably mature for a 17-year old, but he doesn’t seem to have really come on much since then. He looks good for Ajax, settled and disciplined, but there’s never a firework when you feel there should be. Not even a little banger. Should that matter though?
It feels wrong to criticise a player for “just” being good but it feels like here’s a young man that really promised to be something special, and has every chance of still being exactly that, but has found a level he’s comfortable with and is sticking to it.
This is clearly a level-headed and sensible individual (his disciplinary record is excellent - only 6 yellows since his debut in 2013) but perhaps that’s the issue. He has it in him to really open up but prefers something a little more sensible. Again, it feels wrong to mark him down but we know it’s in there. Every so often you see a moment that makes you beg for more, only for it disappear in a sea of excellent pass completion stats and tidy twenty-yard balls. We’re in the wrong, we know that and life shouldn’t all be base-jumping and rollercoasters, but we hope there’s a bit more risk even if that means occasionally less reward.
He’s at the perfect club to grow and his father believes he’s tailor made for a Barcelona move in the future. That feels like it’s a long way off at the moment, but it could happen if he can catch the eye a bit more. We love fish-finger sandwiches at IBWM, really love them, but sometimes you want something that excites the pallet a bit more, and you want it served on a weird plate with a beer you’ve never heard of on the side. At the moment this is all that masquerading as a fish-finger sandwich. Take a risk, Daley.
C Strong, solid, unspectacular progress, let’s have something that gets us off our seats next year
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