This weekend, Orlando Trustfull is participating in the AEGON Future Cup , which is taking place for the third year in a row at the Toekomst, with Ajax B1. It’s a tournament for which the 41 year old, in his own words, has hardly needed to motivate his team.
“The guys are looking forward to what’s coming”, says Trustfull. “It’s the cherry on the cake. Playing a tournament with FC Barcelona, Bayern München and Manchester United; if that doesn’t make your football heart beat faster, then nothing will.”
Besides Manchester United, Ajax will also meet the Turkish team Besiktas and Desportivo Brasil from Brazil. The match against the Turks is the tournament’s opener on Saturday. “I have no idea how these guys play and what level their youth academy has”, admits Trustfull. “Although I’ve heard good stories about Besiktas, we’ll play our own game without changes.”
Later on Saturday, Ajax faces the Mancunians, where Ryan Giggs, Paul Scholes and David Beckham, among others, all went through the youth academy and on to the first team. “But I believe that the last time they played Ajax, only one of their players had come up through their own academy”, says Trustfull about the UEFA Europa League match between the powerhouses. “But I have to say that Manchester plays every year in the European top. It’s hard to do that with players from your own academy only. Although Barcelona proves the contrary, but that’s quite unique. In any case, it’s a place that we hope to be in with Ajax again.”
Although there have been few real big names breaking through recently, the English record holding champion has a good draft of B-juniors. “At least, I’ve heard that their team has a high level”, says the former player, who even played for Sheffield Wednesday for a season. “This weekend, there are no teams against which you can afford to play at half steam. Our guys can measure themselves with the best in the world to experience where they stand. For us, it’s just a great measuring stick.”
Ajax plays the last group match on Sunday against Desportivo Brasil. Earlier, the young Ajax players played the Brazilian Vasco de Gama team at a tournament in Qatar. “At a young age, Brazilians are already quite technical, and very sharp”, says Trustfull. “They aren’t afraid of the matches. Vasco also played on the edge. They were already playing like it was professional football. That’s a great learning experience.”
Even Trustfull still has a lot to learn. “I learn so much with Ajax, where we talk a lot about how we want to develop key players into first team players”, said the two time international. “It’s fantastic to work with so much football intellect. Even the guys with a bit less football background integrate very well. I really enjoy working here.”
Tickets for Ajax’s international youth tournament cost 7,50 euro. The price of a pass for the entire tournament costs 10 euro. Children 13 years old and under can attend the tournament all weekend at de Toekomst free of charge.