Dutch giants AFC Ajax continue to occupy a spot in the top echelon of youth development across world football for just about the entirety of their illustrious history.
Though they have lost the likes of Frenkie de Jong and Matthijs de Ligt while could be in line to part ways with midfield starlet Ryan Gravenberch amid serious from Bayern Munich, de Godenzonen always are capable of having another young player ready to step into the breach.
One such player that has done so in the last two years has been academy graduate Jurriën Timber.
The Utrecht-native spent 6-years in the academy set up at Feyenoord before finishing his education across four years at Ajax before breaking into the first-team set up during the 2019-20 season. Since then, Timber has rapidly risen through the ranks under Erik ten Hag and is now an undisputed first-choice option at the Johan Cruijff Arena.
Ajax centre-back, Jurriën Timber (20):
— City Report (@cityreport_) March 23, 2022
Timber is currently in the Dutch national team camp under Louis van Gaal as Oranje are set for a pair of friends against Denmark and bitter rivals Germany beginning this weekend, but the Ajax youngster took time out to reflect on what his potential next port of call could be should he leave the Dutch giants in the future.
“I like to play for prizes; that’s why I say City now. Barcelona has a less good period at the moment. I want to grow as a player, use my time at Ajax to become even better. At Ajax, you have to be happy if you are in the starting line-up; that’s why I want to enjoy this time consciously.”
“I play for the prizes here; there is no better place to be. Ajax was always my dream club; I also slip under an Ajax duvet. I plan to stay here for a while. But if Manchester City calls, what should I do?”
Timber part of next wave of growing Dutch stars under Van Gaal
The Netherlands took a major step in trying to rebuild their national platform after qualifying for the 2022 World Cup in Qatar after crossing the finish line ahead of Turkey and Norway in a competitive Group G that so nearly saw the Dutch need to go through the playoff tree make it to next winters global spectacle.
But for a nation that has long had one of the great influences on the sport on a global scale, the Netherlands shockingly failed to qualify for World Cup 2018 while being dumped out of the round of 16 at Euro 2020 at the hands of the Czech Republic after Oranje won all three group stage matches.
Legendary manager Louis van Gaal was brought back into the fold once again in service for his country, and the Dutch had gotten on well under the former Champions League-winning headmaster, winning five of their seven matches under his command while drawing the other two.
As is tradition with the Dutch, another cadre of young players continues to push for places in the national team setup, and Timber is one of eight players aged twenty-three or younger.
Apart from Timber, that list includes the likes of PSV starlet Cody Gakpo, Borussia Dortmund’s Donyell Malen, mercurial Club Brugge winger Noa Lang, AZ Alkmaar standout left-back Owen Wijndal, and, of course, Matthijs de Ligt.
Others not included in the current team include Jeremy Frimpong, Devyne Rensch, Ryan Gravenbrich, and Calvin Stengs.
Though the Dutch have been a shadow of their former selves in recent seasons if any nation can get back on track in scintillating fashion, it’s Clockwork Orange.
Manchester City betting odds, next game:
Manchester City latest news