Seven months after making his senior debut, 19-year-old AFC Ajax forward Anwar El Ghazi has already contributed nine league goals – just how special is he?
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UEFA.com continues its weekly wonderkid feature by looking at AFC Ajax's Anwar El Ghazi ...
Name: Anwar El Ghazi
Club: AFC Ajax
Debut: 3 August 2014
Date of birth: 3 May 1995
Preferred foot: right
They say ...
"He has that gift of getting in front of goal and he's a real killer when he's there. As a winger he is already worth a fortune, but once he has developed into a striker Ajax could double their money."
Former Netherlands forward Pierre van Hooijdonk
"El Ghazi is dangerous even when he is not in good form. He is always near goal at decisive moments; the ball often seems to fall at his feet."
Ajax coach Frank de Boer
"El Ghazi has got everything it takes to reach the absolute top. A beautiful player to watch, he is physically strong and has good looks, which is also important in football!"
Ex-PSV Eindhoven and Netherlands attacker René van der Gijp
El Ghazi, of Moroccan descent, grew up in Barendrecht, a suburb of Rotterdam. He started at local side BVV Barendrecht before spending two years with the Feyenoord youth academy. He then had a further four years in Sparta Rotterdam's academy, but joined Ajax in 2013. The 19-year-old made his senior debut in the Dutch Super Cup on 3 August and is the most valuable player in this season's Eredivisie having been involved in 16 goals as of 8 March – nine scored, seven assists.
Playing style ...
El Ghazi is a tall, strong forward who allies technical prowess with power, making him a menace to mark. His unpredictability can also be particularly challenging to track, for he can equally drop deep on the right or cut inside and shoot at goal himself. Latterly he has also been deployed as a central striker.
A blend of ...
His speed, movement and nose for goal elicit inevitable comparisons with Cristiano Ronaldo. "Ronaldo was and is the example I follow, but I am aware I'm not as good as him yet! I also look to follow fantastic players such as Eden Hazard and Arjen Robben."
Eureka moment ...
Having dribbled past a few defenders, El Ghazi finished into the top-right corner with a delightful curler. This was the moment he sealed Ajax's 3-1 triumph at PSV Eindhoven on 1 March, a victory which helped ensure that the title race is not yet over. El Ghazi occupied a more central role in impressive fashion, offering a possible glimpse to where his future lies.
Best-case scenario ...
He may only have made his debut at the start of this campaign, but El Ghazi is already Ajax's most valuable asset – the sky really is the limit. Equally importantly, he looks to be a cool character who is currently focused solely on developing at Ajax. "I am totally focused on Ajax for now – I want to become a regular here, improve and become important to the club. I can think later about what the future holds."
He says ...
"I possess certain qualities, I can always be decisive in a match even if I am not really in the game – I have had this ability since I was a kid. This is all about instinct and is just part of me. Something can happen at any moment."