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De Ligt: ‘I used to play in midfield’

February 24, 2020

Matthijs de Ligt reveals he used to play in midfield as a child and that a strong team like Juventus can win the Champions League.

The Dutch international spoke to UEFA’s official website and recounted his early years playing football, where he wasn’t always in defence.

“Up to the age of 15 I played as a midfielder. I played a lot in midfield, scored a few goals and made some assists,” De Ligt told the website.

“But then they told me that it would be better for me to play as a central defender.  At the beginning I thought: ‘I don’t like playing in defence,’ but I now realise that playing as a midfielder has helped me. I am happy with my development.”

“Lyon? I know enough about them. Two of my teammates in the national side play there, Memphis Depay and Kenny Tete.

“I played against them when I was at Ajax, so I know the stadium and the club. I think they are a strong side, with a lot of young players. In this sense they are similar to Ajax, because they can count on young players to grow. They are a good side and we must be ready.

“In recent years, technique has become increasingly important. I think it all started from Barcelona and the ‘tika-taka’ movement, with play starting from the back, and to play out from the back you need to be good with the ball.

“This is why technique is important. In Italy you also play with more men against an attacker, and it is very different, but this has allowed me to become the defender that I am today.

“I am not afraid to go one on one against someone, and it is something I learned at Ajax.

“Juve are the strongest team in Italy, they want to attack and win. With this coach it is important to play from the back, and advance with courage and to see that we have the desire to play the ball.

“To do this you must have good technique.”

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