The Dutch teenager who wants to follow in De Ligt’s footsteps at Juve


Wednesday, August 17, 2022 at 12:57• Jordi Tomasowa • Last update: 13:24

In cooperation with GOAL light Football zone regularly out young players who can go far in the future or who are already earning their spurs in (inter)national top football. This time the attention is focused on the seventeen-year-old talent Dean Huijsen, who made the switch from Málaga to Juventus in the summer of 2021, where he wants to follow in the footsteps of Matthijs de Ligt.

The Netherlands Under 17 fell short of France’s peers in the final of the European Championship in June, but some great talents for the future presented themselves in Israel. Perhaps the most striking player at Orange was defender Huijsen, who hopes to make the step to the main force of Juventus in the near future. Shortly before his seventeenth birthday, at the beginning of April, Huijsen was called up by trainer Massimiliano Allegri to train with the first team of Juve. The defender, who already impressed with the club’s Under-17s during his first season in Turin, was given the chance to learn from a player he admires and to whom he is regularly compared: Matthijs de Ligt.

Both are tall, blond-haired Dutch centre-backs, who combine their defensive qualities with an impressive composure on the ball, hence the comparison is easily made. However, Juve are doing everything they can to temper expectations around his pupil at this early stage. Huijsen is naturally right-footed, but rarely panics when forced to use his weaker left leg and at 1.95m he has the physical qualities to dominate competitions in his age category.

“Dean Huijsen is a very versatile player,” said Mischa Visser, national coach of the Netherlands Under 17 TuttoJuve. “And despite being a central defender, he also asserts himself offensively. Defensively, he is able to choose the right position at the right time and thanks to his size he wins many duels. His composure impresses me, he doesn’t seem nervous at all. He can concentrate well on what he has to do on the pitch, he is not affected by the pace of the game or the pressure from the stands.” As Visser said, Huijsen may set himself apart from other top defenders by showing himself off offensively as well, whether he’s dribbling in from behind or when he gets a chance to shoot at goal.

He scored seven goals in nineteen games during his first season with Juve and also found the net twice this summer at the European Under-17 Championship in Israel. Huijsen is a penalty specialist and his ability to hit from eleven meters distorts his impressive figures somewhat. Nevertheless, he has also shown that he can be dangerous in open play. Making goals as a defender is nothing new for Huijsen. He made the move to Juve from Málaga last summer, where he was the top scorer in the Under-17s. You could even say that scoring is in his blood, as his father Donny had a short professional career after joining Ajax’s youth academy. was the attacking partner of Patrick Kluivert.

The Huijsen family moved to Marbella when Dean was five years old, and he soon joined local club Costa Unida CF before being drawn to Málaga five years later. He played regularly in higher age categories and was quickly seen as a growth brilliance of Malaga’s youth academy. At the age of fifteen he was allowed to train with the first team as a reward for his lightning-fast development.

As the summer transfer window deadline in 2021 approached, some European powerhouses, including Real Madrid, Sevilla and at least one Premier League club, appeared to be interested in Huijsen. However, it was Juventus, led by their scout Matteo Tognozzi, who managed to convince the youngster to move to Italy. A plan was laid out for him that would neither put too much pressure on him nor test his patience. At least the first signs are looking good. Allegri said at the end of last season that he was impressed by what he saw of Huijsen during training days alongside Leonardo Bonucci and De Ligt, and it is expected that he will have similar opportunities more often this season.

Huijsen still has a contract until mid-2024 with Juve, which has already offered him a contract extension. According to marca the teenage talent is still closely followed by several European top clubs, in which Bayern Munich in particular would be extremely interested. Who knows, he may one day be reunited in Munich with his idol Matthijs De Ligt, who left Turin earlier this summer for a transfer to of the Rekordmeister. “I want to succeed at Juve and you never know what the future will bring,” Huijsen says to marca. But it is true that De Ligt is my role model as a centre-back. He defends very sharply and is strong with the ball. I would love to play in the national team with him one day.”