Jurrien Timber: A complete defender in the making

AFC Ajax has already found the next crown jewel of the Ajax Youth Academy. After the departure of Matthijs de Ligt to Juventus a few years back, Ajax struggled a bit in the European competitions. But it seems now that the Dutch club have found the replacement from their renowned academy itself. Jurrien Timber – Another world-class Dutch defender in the making.

Timber is a product of the famed Ajax youth academy, home to numerous legends of the game. After impressing scouts in his hometown, he was snapped up by Feyenoord. However, Ajax’s history of developing young talent was too great to ignore. So, he joined Ajax at the age of 13 for the formative years of his footballing education. Jurrien Timber has only recently emerged as the hot prospect everyone is talking about.

Timber made his senior debut for Ajax in a 3–1 win over SC Heerenveen on 7 March 2020. He scored his first career goal for Ajax against Emmen on 2 May 2021. It was the opening goal in an eventual 4–0 win. That result confirmed Ajax as Eredivisie champions for a record 35th time.

Another exciting factor about the Dutch International is that he has a twin who is waiting for his debut for the Ajax senior team. He is Quinten Timber, who also joined the Academy of Ajax at the age of 13.

“We actually only took on children from the age of six and there was a considerable waiting list, but as four-year-olds they were simply too good to refuse,” Twan Lenders, a youth coach at amateur club DVSU, recalled when discussing the pair.

“Nobody was afraid of the team beforehand, but they made sure that we immediately became champions against boys of seven and eight years old.”

Jurrien Timber will be crucial for the Netherlands in the upcoming world cup. Timber was selected to the Netherlands squad for UEFA Euro 2020. He made his debut for the team on 2 June 2021 in a friendly against Scotland as a starter.

Despite being just 5′ 9″ (1.79 metres) tall, Timber’s physicality has never held him back. With his astonishing speed, power and sense of positioning, he has established himself in the first XI of the Dutch club.

Ajax manager Erik Ten Haag has always praised the performance of Timber. “He could even play at left-back or in central midfield,” Ten Hag said last year.

“He will not immediately be the leader of the Ajax first team,” Ten Hag continued, “but he dares to speak out immediately and has not been shy in the dressing room. Those are important qualities to get far.”