* Soccer prospects rankings by leagues *
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12-24-2007, 08:18 AM
Join Date: Apr 2002
Afellay was named talent of the year of the 2006/2007 season. He is talented, we all know that. He loves to dribble, and is often a target because of it. I think Afellay draws more fouls than everyone else in the Eredivisie. A huge plus for PSV, but not so much for Ibrahim himself, as he's often injured because of it. His injury woes would have me worried if I were a PSV fan (blegh
). One thing he has worked on are the physical aspects of the game. He's seemingly stronger in battles now than he was before. He's also developed his shot, with both his left and right, making him dangerous from long distance. I think he can become a star player in any league, but comes up short for superstadom, as he'll always be injury prone, preventing him to form consistency and development in the long haul.
Karim El Ahmadi
(CM; FC Twente)
El Ahmadi is a 22 year old CM with over 70 Eredivisie games under his belt already. His progression is going nicely, as he is now recognized as one of the best talents of the Eredivisie after being a 'who's that kid?' for much of his first few seasons in the league. He's an all-round midfielder who's task differ each game. He can cancell out his man as a DM, play the neutral role of a CM, dictating the game or play as an AM, contributing offensively. He plays with a lot of maturity, and despite being a typical street footballer, El Ahmadi uses his impressive skillset only in need. Teammate Orlando Engelaar on El Ahmadi: "He could skip the top Eredivisie clubs. I'm sure the trainer won't be too pleased with this, but I think Karim is already good enough to play at the highest level, Real Madrid or Barcelona. The fact that he still plays for FC Twente is because he hasn't proven himself over a large period. It's a joy to play by his side or to sit back and watch him."
Jonathan de Guzman
Canada or Holland? That's the main subject when you're discussing de Guzman. I'd say he's every bit as Dutch as he is Canadian. He's been living here for half his life now and since January of this year, rumours keep floating the surface that he will choose for an Oranje career. Whether that's a wise decision remains to be seen, but de Guzman has everything what it takes to become a star in this world, maybe even a little more of everything goes right. He's playing for what's arguably the most pressured club in the Netherlands, yet is a crowd favorite no matter what. In 2006/2007, when his team went through one of the worst seasons in its 100 year history, de Guzman remained a constant level all season long, leading the team in scoring with 7 goals and 4 assists. De Guzman is a valueble presense in that he knows no weaknesses in his game. Sure, he could eat more spinache and toughen up, but I've seen him neutralize opponents' biggest stars, yet come up with the winning goal in the end. He's quick, agile, makes good decisions and is lethal from set plays. Jonathan has all the ingredients to grow, too. He has the proper mentality, is feisty and very smart. He's currenly having an outstanding season, forming a deadly duo with Sahin. With 7 goals and an assist, de Guzman's progression seems to go well. De Guzman has been rumoured to have signed a pre-contract with Chelsea for a while now.
Luigi Bruins was named Excelsior MVP in 2005/2006 when he helped the club getting promoted to the Eredivisie. Bruins was barely 18 at the time. After an even more impressive debut season in the Eredivisie, Bruins had the chance to choose between Ajax, AZ, PSV, Feyenoord and a bunch of clubs from England and Italy. With Feyenoord holding the first rights (Excelsior being their satellite club) and Bruins being a Rotterdammer himself, the choice was obvious for him. Bruins gets plenty of minutes on the newly improved Feyenoord squad. Having to compete with van Bronckhorst, Lucius, Sahin, Hofs and de Guzman, Bruins has still managed to appear in 11 games so far, contributing with two goals and an assist. Bruins won European gold with Oranje this summer, scoring in the final. He's a little playmaker who uses his quick feet to get himself in position for a smart pass, or an eventual shot. He's entertaining to watch but like his teammate de Guzman, Bruins needs to bulk up, weighing just 61KG's. It might prevent him from making any noise in tougher, tighter league's such as the Serie A and the Premierleague, ironicly two leagues of which he got a lot of interest from this summer.
Vermaelen just turned 22 and with the retirement of Jaap Stam, his time to shine has now arrived. Unfortunately for him, he's been injured a lot so far, only appearing in 5 games. Vermaelen is a steady defender, he plays agressive and tenicious defense but is actually good on the ball. Strong in the air and confident in his actions. Has decent speed for a defender. Needs to become stronger mentally. His own goal (unlucky) two years ago made Ajax miss the CL and it was obvious Vermaelen couldn't focuss straight the first few weeks thereafter, instantly passing each ball he received. He's had two great seasons and if he has any luck keeping healthy, there will be a 3rd one. Expect him to be Ajax' main anchor on defense next year when Heitinga likely leaves.
Zeefuik went through most of the Ajax academy before being send away. PSV signed him after a short stay at Omniworld. After being named best player of the Otten Cup, scoring two times vs Boca in the final, Zeefuik earned himself a call-up for the A squad. With that, he became the 3rd youngest player to have ever made his PSV debut. After big teams started noticing the youngster, including Liverpool, PSV quickly renewed and extended his contract till 2011. Genéro is a freak on the ball, Hasselbaink like, only with more pace. Thanks to helping Oranje U17 qualify themselves for the EC (scoring the game winner in the decisive game), Zeefuik started out the season for A squad and hasn't looked back since. With stiff competition (Koné (now gone), Farfán, Lazovic, Koevermans and Reis and Afellay) Zeefuik will likely have to wait a few more years before making a big splash, but having turned 17 this year, that shouldn't be seen as a problem.
Kenneth Vermeer is a hyped goalkeeper from the potent Ajax academy. He's 21 years old but has yet to make his Eredivisie debut for Ajax as Maarten Stekelenburg is the undisputed #1. I actually witnessed his only professional game he played for Ajax, when he played the UEFA Cup match vs IK Start last year, keeping a clean net for the minutes he played. Vermeer was finally loaned out this season as he joined Willem II. He's already played in 10 games but is often let hang out to dry by what's arguably one of Eredivisie's worst defenses. Yet he's doing admirably. In 10 games, he's managed to keep a clean net twice, occasionally stealing points here and there. Kenneth Vermeer is a typical line goalkeeper. He's 1.82 in height but has huge hands. He's probably one of the most athletic goalkeeper in the world (of his generation at least) and can littery fly through the air. Plays without fear and is sound positionally. Used to be a real showboater in juniors, boxing balls which he could catch, but he's already improved that. Vermeer reached the QF of the U20WC with Oranje 3 years ago, but win gold during both the EC 2006 as 2007 EC's. With more and more teams targetting Stekelenburg, Vermeer will more then likely return to Ajax next year and take over the reigns if Maarten indeeds decides to leave.
Was suddenly thrown in front of the lions in the semi final of the UEFA Cup during his professional debut, but ended up being named MotM. Played some more impressive games for AZ until he and van Gaal suddenly could no longer get along. Had to leave the team he adored and played his entire career for. But due to his AZ stay and and impressive WCU20, he had no complains where to continue his career. Tottenham, Ajax, PSV and Feyenoord were all fighting over him, eventually choosing Feyenoord. Vlaar's impressive game even lead to an invitation to play for Oranje, but when he was overrun by Luca Toni, the invitations suddenly stopped. Since then, Vlaar has experienced two phenomenal U21 EC's, winning both. Things were looking very promissing once again, only to injure his knee, requiring surgery. Vlaar's knee didn't heal properly and turned out to be infected. After another operation, Vlaar is now required to recover for the next 8 months. Vlaar's future will definitely be Orange collored. He needs to catch a break and get into the groove again. He's hardnosed, build like a tank and goes into battles fearless.
Jan Vertonghen became famous for scoring this goal: n1L9xyMa_EI, a little while ago playing for Ajax II. Most people thought it was an accident, but people who have followed him know his shot and how he does everything with precision. Makes you wonder. That said, Jan is a 20-year old player who I like to compare to Wim Jonk. He's a LB/LM/CB or DM and one of Ajax' main youngsters in the A-squad. Despite his age and inexperience, Vertonghen's shot is that impressive that he has replaced Wesley Sneijder as main candidate for set-plays. He scored a nice one last week, which actually proved out to be the game winner. Vertonghen also won the Nike European competition with Beerschot (Ajax affiliate) and is already a starting fixture on the Belgium national team. His calmness, versatility and all-round game along with his free kicks make Vertonghen a safe bet to become a special player in the future. He's already a valueble member for Ajax and Belgium.
Ow Maduro. Typical example of a youngster being brought too soon and gets overloaded with responsibility. Two years ago, I'd argue anyone if they could name me 10 better prospects then Maduro. The same can hardly be said right now. Maduro was amazing his first two seasons for Ajax. Displaying maturity I've seen never out of teenager. He can really dictacte the game and have it played at a pace which suits him. Knows when to speed things up, or to slow things down and is an all-round force at midfield, also contributing offensively with timely rushes (
(click 'ga verder' under 'Mooiste Doelpunt'. A pop-up video screen will appear, select the 3rd clip. It's well worth it). He's not in the funk of before, but he's not at the level he's capable of, either. With Gabri and Davids playing his role for Ajax, Maduro will more then likely leave to a side which gives him the minutes to convince Marco van Basten he is EC worthy. Sevilla, Internazionale, Juventus, AS Roma, Tottenham and Manchester United are all still interested in the potential star. Makes you wonder if they even seen him play last year. Yet it would be wise to invest in him right now. His value is quite low but the return could be huge. Small risk to take.
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