Who are the Ajax starlets Man United will face in Stockholm?

Dutch giants well known for excellence at youth level with the class of 2017 no different

Ajax players celebrate after beating Lyon to reach the Europa League final. Photo: EPA

Ajax players celebrate after beating Lyon to reach the Europa League final. Photo: EPA

 

Dutch giants Ajax will face Manchester United in the Europa League final in Stockholm next week.

While the English club have employed a blend of youth and experience to reach the showpiece, Ajax’s progression has largely been thanks to a talented squad of young players.

Kasper Dolberg (19)

Danish forward Dolberg, blessed with finishing and dribbling ability, was propelled into the first team following Viktor Fischer’s departure for Middlesbrough and he has made the most of the opportunity.

His 15-goal haul in the Eredivisie included a hat-trick against NEC and he notched five times in five matches as Ajax ran Feyenoord close in the recently-concluded title race.

Dolberg scores Ajax’s second goal in the first leg win over Lyon. Photo: Toussaint Kluiters/Reuters
Dolberg scores Ajax’s second goal in the first leg win over Lyon. Photo: Toussaint Kluiters/Reuters

Bertrand Traore (21)

Premier League champions Chelsea did not need the tricky Traore this season but their impressive campaign might well have been even more entertaining had he been let loose at Stamford Bridge.

The man from Burkina Faso has enjoyed a breakthrough year on loan in Holland, firing 13 goals from midfield as well as acting as a defence-splitting force. He scored twice in the 4-1 semi-final thrashing of Lyon.

Traore leaves Lyon’s Maxime Gonalons in knots. Photo: Emmanuel Foudrot/Reuters
Traore leaves Lyon’s Maxime Gonalons in knots. Photo: Emmanuel Foudrot/Reuters

Davinson Sanchez (20)

Imposing Colombian centre-back Davinson has reportedly captured the imagination of Barcelona and Paris St Germain with his performances in his first season in Europe, and it is not hard to see why.

Ajax’s player of the year has drawn comparisons to Dutch defensive great Jaap Stam — he can play the ball with his feet, suffers no nonsense in the penalty box and even has a goal in him, as evidenced by his overhead kick against AZ in April.

Sanchez outmuscles Lyon’s Maxwel Cornet during the first leg. Photo: Michael Kooren/Reuters
Sanchez outmuscles Lyon’s Maxwel Cornet during the first leg. Photo: Michael Kooren/Reuters

David Neres (20)

Neres is a relatively new arrival at the Amsterdam ArenA, joining for a hefty €12million fee in January, but all the signs indicate he will be a big star in Holland and on the continent.

The Brazilian forward plays like Luis Suarez, who made his name in Amsterdam. He scored on his first three starts for Ajax and presents a major threat from the right wing, too. Tracking back to defend is not beyond him either.

Brazilian Neres joined Ajax from Sao Paulo for €12 million. Photo: Getty Images
Brazilian Neres joined Ajax from Sao Paulo for €12 million. Photo: Getty Images

Justin Kluivert (18)

The son of former Ajax favourite Patrick Kluivert not only has the name but has proved he has the talent to live up to it. Patrick’s heir is not a lethal number nine, however — he is an out-and-out winger.

Given his age and ongoing commitment to the under-19 team, Justin Kluivert has typically been used as a substitute in the Eredivisie and in Europe, most memorably setting up a goal against Schalke.

Kluivert comes on as a substitute to replace Amin Younes in the first leg. Photo: Michael Kooren/Reuters
Kluivert comes on as a substitute to replace Amin Younes in the first leg. Photo: Michael Kooren/Reuters
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