“They were three friends: Matthijs de Ligt, Carel Eiting and Frenkie de Jong, three smart, friendly and professional kids,” he recalls in conversation with THE REASON Ruben Jongkind, one of the directors of the Cruyff Plan, who at that time was trying to recover in Ajax the essence of Johan’s game, from the base. The path of these three friends separated: Eiting continues in the whole of Amsterdam; De Ligt is central to Juventus and De Jong has fulfilled one of his dreams as a child signing for Barcelona. “He was up to 16 years in the academy of Willem II, which is a club of the first Dutch, but not of great fame. We had already seen him and we recommend him to Overmars, who made the decision to buy him for Ajax, ”Jongkind reveals about Frenkie. In his first year at Barcelona he is the second footballer of the squad (not counting goalkeeper Ter Stegen) with more minutes, 1,947, for the 2,176 of Piqué, but The blond midfielder has participated in 33 of the 36 games the team has been this season. It was a fixture for Valverde and so it is for Setién, who, like his predecessor, tries to find his place. Although your site, in reality, are many.
“I can do better,” has been one of the most repeated phrases by the player himself since he arrived in Barcelona. And although nobody doubts its quality, there are also those who criticize that he is not playing at the level he showed in Ajax and that led him to be considered the best midfielder of the last Champions League. The last to do so has been a myth like Gullit, who considers that his participation is not influencing the game, despite the fact that De Jong is in the “top 10” of players who have passed the most in LaLiga, in addition to more than one 92 percent of success, only surpassed by 95 percent of Real Madrid player Kroos. “Each person needs an adaptation time and he is only 22 years old. The game system is also a bit different than in Ajax, where he played more defensively, ”says Jongkind. His usual place in recent years had been more of Busquets, but in Barcelona they play both and Frenkie goes to one of the interiors and even occupies a more advanced position, but in reality he is prepared to occupy any place in the center of the field . “When he arrived at Ajax he clearly had a lot of ability to dribble and control the ball. He said he never listened to coaches much and that he kept dribbling and doing his individual actions. It also has impressive genetically explosive values, ”explains Jongkind. As De Jong has confessed in several interviews in his country, not being a child in an academy such as that of Ajax, the PSV or the Feyenoord has probably been an advantage to be able to develop those abilities, because there they would have forced him only to play to win the matches. But despite his qualities, getting to the Ajax school helped him to take another step. “He had to learn to be a professional, the intensity and volume of training and especially physical work: he was not used to it. Also some tactical aspects were important such as depth and the third man (the free companion to have superiority), ”says Jongkind,“ His explosiveness, his ball control and his rhythm of action contribute to his tactical ability, to have more time to make decisions and to also dominate the proactive defense, that is, defend when you are attacking to anticipate where the ball will arrive. He dominates all this and could play in all central or interior positions, ”he insists. “I think what he has to improve is his shot,” continues Jongkind, who is now applying his method at FC Volendam, a modest team of the second Dutchman who fights for the rise in which he is the strategic advisor, Wim Jonk (former Dutch international) is the coach and there is also the Spanish José Mari Amorrortu.
“He is receptive, he wants to learn and improve, I don’t know how far he can go, he has no roof. It is offering great performance and we hope it continues to improve, ”says Quique Setién of his player. The predisposition has always shown her: she usually watches her repeated matches to detect the mistakes and one of the first things she did after signing was to learn Spanish. Jong is the Holland’s most common last name. It means “the young man”. He is going to play his second Classic.