Janmaat: “We All Saw Ajax In The Champions League”
By Kevin Affleck
Daryl Janmaat expects the Golden Boys to be given a stern test in their opening pre-season game against Champions League semi-finalists Ajax tomorrow night.
The Dutch giants have also set up a training camp in Austria and the two sides will meet in a friendly in Saalfelden late on Thursday afternoon. A game against the side who narrowly missed out on playing in the final of Europe's premier cup competition is handy way for Javi Gracia to see exactly where his side are at physically as they approach the end of their third week of pre-season.
“We all saw them in the Champions League,” said Daryl Janmaat. “It’s a good team that plays with possession, they like to have the ball and they are going to be a tough opponent.”
Ajax have been stripped of prized assets Matthijs de Ligt and Frenkie De Jong this summer, the pair sold to Juventus and Barcelona respectively, but they have travelled to these parts with a 28-man squad packed with talent, including Donny van de Beek, Dusan Tadic, Klaas Jan Huntelaar and new signing Quincy Promes.
“They are still a good team,” said Janmaat. “They have got some good players. I know a few from the national team like Huntelaar, [Daley] Blind and Van de Beek. They’ve got good players, young players, and a few new ones so it’s going to be a really tough test for us.”
Janmaat knows all about the examination Ajax provide. He played against them many times for Heerenveen and Feyenoord in the Eredivisie, including the most eagerly-anticipated match in Dutch club football.
“Feyenoord against Ajax is always a special game,” he said. “It’s the biggest game in Holland and I’ve played in it a few times. This game is obviously different, but it will be nice to play after a few weeks just training as playing is what you do it for. It will be good to get some rhythm and everyone is looking forward to the game.”