‘We’re working on it all year’

‘We’re working on it all year’

The season is over, but the new season is knocking on the door. Frank de Boer has been working on his team for next season for months. New acquisitions Richairo Zivkovic and Arek Milik are coming to reinforce the team, and there are also several youth players streaming through. During the Ajax Indonesia Tour 2014, he’s had the opportunity to observe a few young Ajax players.

Frank de Boer enjoyed the Ajax Indonesia Tour. A great close to the 2013-2014 season, it was a trip with lots of opportunities to relax, much more so than in training camps at the start of halfway points of the season. “It went very well, the organization was perfect. We had police escorts everywhere. You need that otherwise you can spend an hour driving three kilometers. Everyone welcomed us with a big smile, although I think people here need to work very hard to make ends meet.”

Ajax played two friendly matches. Persija Jakarta was defeated 0-3, and the match against Persib Bandung ended in a 1-1 draw. “We had no clue what the level would be here. At Ajax, we make use of a website through which you can watch almost any match in the world. But there was nothing for the Indonesian competition. We were able to find some stuff on YouTube. The level isn’t that high. We defeated Persija 0-3, but we could have doubled the score had we been completely focused. Especially when considering the circumstances; jet lag, bad field quality, the heat. Persib was better. They had a vision.”

The Ajax Indonesia Tour was a nice opportunity for De Boer to test some of the young guys and get to know them better: Kenny Tete, Riechedly Bazoer, Peter Leeuwenburgh, Sheraldo Becker. “You look at how they act in the group. You look at their behaviour, for example. I’m very satisfied with everyone. I coached most of the guys as young kids, so I know them. Like Sheraldo. He was a right winger even back then. His speed is his great attribute. If he goes in deep eight times out of ten, and his team mates know it, he can become a great football player. He has a good shot, good plays, he can score. But, like many young guys, he sometimes wants to make a play too much. But he was outstanding here in Indonesia. In the match against Persija, he was very threatening.” Another newcomer that De Boer is very positive about is Tete: “He was a pillar with the Ajax Reserves, and he’s hard to beat one-on-one.” On Leeuwenburgh: “He has made big steps, both physically and in terms of his presence.”

De Boer has been working on the 2014-2015 team for months. “That’s a process that starts around the winter break. You have meetings about next season’s compositions. I think that we’ve had about five of them. Sometimes there are changes. You can suddenly thing that you need to push a certain player. A lot can change in six months. The process is much more intensive in the last weeks. I have lots of contact with Marc Overmars. Next year’s team is taking shape already.”
De Boer can’t say yet whether the young guys who travelled to Indonesia will join the A selection on June 23. “We need to think about that. But it’s possible that we’ll start with a couple of these guys in the summer. I’m very pleased with them.”