De Boer sees stronger Ajax

De Boer sees stronger Ajax

Frank de Boer sees FC Twente as a serious contender for the title. The coach said as much on Friday afternoon’s press conference prior to the duel against the Twente team. “They have a selection that can go all the way to compete for the prizes”, were De Boer’s flattering words about the upcoming opponent.

This has much to do with Alfred Schreuder, FC Twente’s coach, whom De Boer holds in high esteem. That goes both ways. Schreuder has spoken admiringly of the Ajax coach on several occasions. This time, it was De Boer’s turn. “I think Alfred is a very good coach. I see some things that we do the same way, but he definitely has his own vision.”

More admiring words were spoken of the Twente centre forward, Luc Castaignos. The forward has already found the net five times, but had to retire from last week’s Dutch Reserves match against Portugal due to a hamstring injury. But the centre forward seems fit: “Luc has a lot of depth in the way he plays, and makes good running plays. He always knows how to create opportunities. He’s unflappable and a very important player for this FC Twente team. I think that’s impressive considering his young age.”

At Ajax, Kolbeinn Sigthórsson will be in centre forward, just as he has been in the past few weeks. This will be at the expense of his competitor Arek Milik, who was impressive last week in scoring for his native Poland. “I see Kolbeinn getting stronger and I want to give him the chance to keep going. He has absolutely lived up to the confidence we’ve shown in him. I also thought he was strong in the match against the Netherlands. I don’t push someone aside after one bad match. That only happens when someone doesn’t meet our expectations for a long time. But that’s true for everyone.”

De Boer acknowledges that the differences are slim. “Both of them are in good form. Milik is bringing back the confidence he built up in Poland. That’s the case with Sigthórsson, too. Milik has had to adjust to the way we play and the system. He’s got both feet on the ground. It’s great for him that he was able to be so important for his country.”

The coach also had praise for Jairo Riedewald. The defender, who recently turned 18, has been playing better and better. “I’m very satisfied with him. I can really enjoy the way he plays. He’s very close to a starting spot.”

De Boer sees the youngster mainly as a left back and a controlling midfielder. “Stefano Denswil still has a leg up on him for the position of central defender. He’s playing better, too. I certainly can’t complain about my options at the back. I’m always assessing what’s best for the team.”
De Boer also saw the Dutch national team lost to Iceland. He calls himself a fan like any other when it comes to the Dutch national team. “I watched like everyone else. The only remedy is to grab points.”

He sees his own team getting stronger. “After Feyenoord, things started to improve. Physically and in terms of appearance, we’re doing well. We now need to get to the stage where we are continuously dominating matches. It’s time for that to happen.”