After a short break in competition play due to interlands, a very interesting series of matches awaits Ajax. The first of these important matches begins on Saturday evening. Ajax will meet Heracles, Olympique Lyon, PSV and Twente, among others, during this series of matches.
“We are going into a very important series of matches”, realizes Frank de Boer. “Not only will we play on average every four days, but we’ll meet tough opponents”, said the coach during the press conference which took place a few days before Heracles – Ajax. “We’ll see where we stand in the coming two months. I think we’ll be in a high position. We have a good selection. And even if we need to call on another player due to suspension or injury, it won’t matter very much. The group of twenty players and three keepers isn’t very big. The advantage of that is that everyone feels like he has a chance at making the squad.”
Of the newest players, Dmitry Bulykin is the last addition. The Russian player still needs to find his way with Ajax, admits the coach. “But he’s very driven and wants to face the competition. We’re taking him to Almelo on Saturday.”
De Boer has almost everyone at his disposal. Only Bruno Silva, making a long recovery from an injury, and the Belgian youth international Mats Rits, who suffered a knee injury last Tuesday with Belgium U-19, are unavailable. Aras Özbiliz will play for Jong Ajax on Monday, before he can join Ajax 1’s selection. “Jan Vertonghen and Derk Boerrigter are fit”, says De Boer. “I briefly considered not starting some players because of the artificial turf. But when everyone said that they wanted to play, I changed my mind.”
Playing Mounir El Hamdaoui and Ismaïl Aissati is no longer an option this season. “Their future with Ajax isn’t very bright”, says the coach during the press conference. “They are completely in the Jong Ajax program. They’ll get playing minutes there, but it shouldn’t be at the expense of young talent.”