What options does Ten Hag have after the loss of Antony?

Ajax will probably not have Antony available for the rest of the season. With six games in the Eredivisie and a cup final to go, Ajax coach Erik ten Hag will once again have to puzzle. What options does the coach now have after the Brazilian’s loss?

Just before the international match, Antony suffered an ankle injury, although he was able to play for his country Brazil a few days later. The attacker played two international matches in the international match and was injured again in the second game. Due to an ankle injury, Antony left the field on a stretcher.

Ajax reported on Tuesday morning that Antony will no longer be in action this month (April) and it is also possible that he will no longer be in action this season. According to his management, a (temporary) return of David Neres is ‘almost impossible’ and so Ten Hag will have to make do with the players he has now.

Steven Berghuis

The most likely option for Ten Hag is to draft Steven Berghuis as a right winger. Against FC Groningen, the summer acquisition was already drafted as a right winger in the absence of Antony. A position that is not unknown to him. At his previous club Feyenoord he almost always played as a right winger.

When Berghuis plays on the right winger, it does mean that a spot becomes available in midfield. Davy Klaassen played against FC Groningen as the most attacking midfielder. Ten Hag could also use Mohammed Kudus or Mohamed Ihattaren as the most attacking midfielder.

Mohamed Ihattaren

Ihattaren is not only an option as an attacking midfielder, but he can also work as a right winger. At PSV, the Utrechter regularly played as a right winger. The question is whether Ihattaren is fit enough to play in the first team of Ajax.

The attacking midfielder, who is hired from Juventus, is working hard on his fitness at Ajax. Last Friday he made his first minutes (thirty) for Jong Ajax, after which he played sixty minutes against TOP Oss on Monday evening. In the hour he played, Ihattaren provided an assist and a beautiful goal.

Mohamed Daramy

Summer addition Mohamed Daramy may also come into the picture after the loss of Antony. The advantage of Daramy is that – unlike his competition – he has quite a bit of depth. However, the Danish international has not yet been able to conquer a basic place in his period with Ajax and for the time being he has to make do with substitutions and minutes at Young Ajax.

In the duel with TOP Oss, Daramy provided an assist twice. In the first team of Ajax, Daramy scored one goal and two assists in 157 minutes. Trainer John Heitinga points out that the fans of Ajax should give Daramy time. “Daramy is still a very young boy, he just needs match minutes,” Heitinga told VoetbalPrimeur on Monday evening.

Mohammed Kudus

Another option for Ten Hag is Mohammed Kudus. The Ghanaian normally plays in midfield, but can also play as a winger. Flemming Pedersen, Kudus’ trainer at FC Nordsjaelland, said

about two years ago around the midfielder’s arrival that he is at his best as a hanging right winger. Kind of like Hakim Ziyech.

Kudus was sidelined earlier this season with a rib injury, but has fully recovered from that for several weeks. The Ghanaian was still in the starting line-up in the duel with FC Groningen and he may receive regular minutes in the remainder of the season. Whether that is as a midfielder or as a hanging right winger, the future will have to tell.

Options from Young Ajax

Ten Hag could also call on one of the upcoming talents from Young Ajax. Last Sunday Sontje Hansen was still part of the Ajax selection, while Axel Dongen’s Ammouricho already made his debut earlier this season. Furthermore, Ten Hag could also opt for players such as Naci Ünüvar, Ar’jany Martha and Christian Rasmussen. The chance that these players will actually act as basic players seems small, although it is realistic that one of the above talents will sit on the bench at the first team of Ajax.

Bart Veenstra (Twitter: @Bart_Veenstra † email: b.veenstra@ajaxshowtime.com)