Frenkie de Jong showed that he can get forward and get his name on the scoresheet during Barcelona‘s 3-2 win away at Real Betis on Sunday night, but the midfielder’s former coach at Ajax, Erik ten Hag, is not in favour of this new role for the 22-year-old.
Instead, Ten Hag argues that De Jong‘s qualities are best exploited by having him orchestrate things from deep.
“He’s not a goalscorer,” Ten Hag explained on the Dutch TV show ‘Rondo’ on Ziggo Sport.
“He’s the player who supplies… who supplies the teammates who give the assists or who score goals from their position.”
Ten Hag recalled the importance of the midfielder at Ajax and explained that he had to be reprimanded once for going too far up the pitch.
“Once I got him out of there,” he said in relation to substituting De Jong.
“I asked him: are you a No.10? Then when do you score goals?”
Matthijs de Ligt also departed the Johan Cruyff Arena in the summer as he joined Juventus, with the coach stating that he still keeps in touch with the centre-back and De Jong, although he notes that he wishes he could’ve kept hold of them both.
“[I would’ve liked them to stay] for another year or two,” Ten Hag acknowledged.
“[It would have been] better for Ajax and for Dutch football.”