Ones to Watch | Number 1: Amourricho van Axel Dongen

In a football world filled with countless stars of today, so many of us are curious about who is waiting in the wings.

That next wonderkid, a youngster that has the potential to make us stand up and marvel at how they are masters of their craft despite their tender age.

With this in mind, we at 101 Great Goals will be bringing you another weekly series; this time, taking a look at players across the world that are 21-years-old or younger. Some of them you will have no doubt heard of, while we hope to bring you a few new names to spark your curiosities every now and then.

Name: Amourricho van Axel Dongen

Age: 17-years-old

Position: Left-Wing

Place of Birth: Almere, Netherlands

Citizenship: Netherlands

National team caps: 1 (U18)

Current club: AFC Ajax

Current Market Value (per Transfermarkt): €500k

Potential suitors: Chelsea

Ah yes, De Toekomst; the vaunted Ajax youth academy that has graced the football world with a veritable laundry list of stars across decades of successful service to the Dutch giants.

The list of global superstars that can trace their roots back to the de Godenzonen academy set-up is otherworldly. Johan Cruijff, Marco van Basten, Frank Rijkaard, Dennis Bergkamp, Clarence Seedorf, Patrick Kluivert, Frank & Ronald De Boer, Edgar Davids, Wesley Sneijder, and Rafael van der Vaart all came through the academy ranks while going on to shape the very ground that football has been built.

That track record of academy success continues today, with recent products including Matthijs de Ligt, Frenkie de Jong, Donny van de Beek, Sergiño Dest, Sven Botman, and Noa Lang all taking their next steps elsewhere after receiving their education in De Toekomst’s hallowed halls, while the likes of Ryan Gravenberch, Devyne Rensch, and Jurriën Timber are in the first-team set up at the Amsterdam Arena after their academy graduation.

Another player that looks destined to leave his mark is 17-year-old winger Amourricho van Axel Dongen.

A Dutch U18 international and having already made his first-team debut on 16 January of this year in a five-minute cameo during Ajax's 3-0 win against FC Utrecht, Axel Dongen is being billed as one for the future by some key figures at the club, including academy director Saïd Ouaali.

"He is quick, has a great technique and a fantastic vision. In particular, his ability to control the ball under pressure in small spaces makes him a very special player," Ouaali said during a summer interview with Ajax TV.

He continued; "He is coachable, correctable, and can help others. He is helpful. On the field, he is prepared to take responsibility. He has independence. Those are things we find important in a youth player."

Having been linked with interest from Premier League giants Chelsea in the summer of 2020, Axel Dongen is already on the radar screens of some of the top clubs outside of the Netherlands' borders.

Whether or not he will finish his education at Ajax remains to be seen, but given the fact that he was already given a first-team debut, he is on course to be a household name sooner rather than later.

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