Forward | Ajax and Roma | Netherlands
The IBWM staff are looking at Justin Kluivert and thinking: oh boy, this one’s a winner. The game’s most gifted players rarely manage to pass down their superstar genetics to their offspring, but Justin Kluivert appears to have duly accepted his father’s ability.
We don’t want to view Kluivert purely through the comparative lenses which pit him next to his father. Patrick was a unique phenomenon and he achieved international stardom at the tender age of 18, so major comparisons, in terms of success at least, would be grossly unjust at this stage.
Stylistically speaking, Justin is something of an unorthodox wide man. Possessing the enigmatic and ambidextrous ability to use both feet to equally devastating effect, Kluivert is pulsating in possession and mentally-punishing on defenders who are forced to second-guess his every step.
Combine that with scintillating speed and a natural ability to curl the ball into the far corner from an inside forward position, and we can present to you a genuine wonderkid.
The world is waiting, Justin.
2018 has been…
A year of transition for both club and country. Kluivert started the year at Ajax, glowing in the Eredivisie and commanding interest from plenty of Europe’s most desirable clubs. Roma eventually won the race for his signature, fending off the challenge of Manchester United after Patrick had publicly warned his son against a move to England, but the early openings of his career hint that he won’t find it easy to establish a gladiatorial reputation at the Stadio Olimpico.
Kluivert has only scored once and provided two assists since moving to Italy, taking his tallies to six goals and five assists in the year of 2018. A consistently clinical player is bubbling beneath the surface, it’s now a case of when he erupts on the European stage.
On the international front, Kluivert has been handed his first caps this year, featuring twice for the Dutch national side in a pair of cameo appearances against Portugal and Peru. Ronald Koeman has been reluctant to include him in the starting line-up, with fears of pushing one of the star’s of Oranje’s next generation before he is ready to jump inducing that reluctance out of the appropriately orange-haired tactician.
Kluivert is a victim of circumstance and there can be no doubt he will infinitely be judged alongside the achievements of his father. With such a universally esteemed father figure setting the bar for success at a gargantuan height, the challenge which lies ahead for Kluivert is one which will be watched on with eagle-eyed interest, particularly from those Dutch supporters dreaming of the birth of a new golden era. Kluivert could well be the poster boy of the Netherland’s resurrection, beating the likes of Frenkie de Jong and Mathijs de Ligt to the honour.
But while his heritage is a core driver behind his place in the media spotlight, IBWM are eager to hammer the point that Kluivert is a genuinely special player and, if his talent is nurtured with the meticulous care which it deserves, it will shine through in a thoroughly memorable career.