Ryan Gravenberch: Father issues advice on future for Ajax’s ‘better-than-Pogba’ wonderkid


Ajax prodigy Ryan Gravenberch has been offered advice on his future by his father amid growing interest from across Europe.

Gravenberch, 18, had an exceptional breakthrough campaign in Amsterdam and was tipped to reach the pinnacle of the sport.

Already crowned three times internationally with the Netherlands, the talented Tyro has featured 44 times in all Ajax competitions this quarter, playing a pivotal role in midfielder Erik ten Hag as by Godenzonen sealed a domestic double.

Gravenberch broke Clarence Seedorf’s long-standing record as the youngest Ajax player to feature in the Eredivisie when he made his debut in September 2018, as this season, he proved to be the heartbeat of the capital club’s game, completing the second-highest number of assists of any player in the division (1,783).

The teenager’s tempo-adjusting exploits also resulted in him registering the most completed passes in the last third of all Dutch elite players this campaign (565), as well as the second touches (2549), leading to one or two greedy gazes from all over the continent.

However, Gravenberch’s father, Ryan Snr, advised his son to ignore the interest for now, put his head down and focus on becoming one of Ajax’s best players.

He said Ajax Showtime: “He must take this last step at Ajax. He just needs to do it and he hasn’t done it yet.

“I want him to fully mature at Ajax so as far as I’m concerned he will just stay at Ajax.

“He’s only played one full season now and that was of course pretty good, but next season he will have to play even better.

“Then, despite his age, he must really be one of the key players, especially if he plays in the European Championship [with the Netherlands].

“Next season, he won’t get away with it in the locker room if he plays badly several games in a row.

“I really think he should take a step at Ajax first. He must climb in the hierarchy and defend himself more within the team.

“I’m not going to push him to do this, it doesn’t make sense to Ryan.” But he also realizes it. He also thinks it is better for him to stay at Ajax.

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‘Gravenberch a better version of Pogba’

Among those who would be interested in the young Dutch player are Premier League sides Liverpool and Chelsea, and if either club were to take a tangible approach for him, a former youth coach of the player think they would get a better version of Paul Pogba.

Brian Tevreden, who coached Gravenberch at U15 level for Ajax, told Goal the midfielder shares the same qualities as the Manchester United midfielder.

He said: “Physically I see Frank [Rijkaard] in him at the time because he is tall and very strong.

“But technically I would say he’s a better version of Pogba in his prime at Juventus, in terms of technique and presence on the pitch.

“He’s very dominant like Pogba, and that’s what I see in Ryan.”

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