De Ligt Debut

Twitter, for all of its good has become a dark place over the last few weeks, seeing the likes of Tammy Abraham, Paul Pogba, Marcus Rashford and Kurt Zouma to name a few receive racial abuse from the keyboard warriors.

“De Ligt scoring a few headers and giving a post-season speech like a Nazi General actually fooled us into thinking he was top 5 CBs in the world.”


Last night post the Juventus vs Napoli game, which I must was exceptional. I was sat at home trolling through my feed reading peoples thoughts on the calcio classic and it dawned upon me that I was seeing far too much criticism of Matthijs de Ligt’s and his performance v Napoli.

“Smalling went to Italy & Koulibaly is dropping own goals, De Ligt is getting fried like Plantain. The real defender is in Italy & suddenly the Frauds are getting exposed. You love to see it.”


The young man is 20, he is playing his football in a new country, learning a new language and playing in a new system. As a matter of fact Matthijs played as the left-sided central defender after almost exclusively being on the right at Ajax.

He also only found out that he would be starting and making his debut against Napoli, one of the main rivals for the Scudetto on Friday afternoon, after seeing his captain Giorgio Chiellini injuring his ACL in training.

I was left bewildered as to how many of these jokers who have probably never played football at a standard which would be deemed acceptable find it within themselves to hammer away at the keyboards behind the safety of their screens and hurl abuse at people.

De Ligts Performance vs Napoli

Despite De Lints criticism the young defender ensured he got fully involved in his first appearance in the black and white of Juventus. He had the 54 touches during the 90 minutes, more than Bonucci (46), Matuidi (51), Khedira (28) Costa (51), Ronaldo (47) and Higuaín (25).

He also completed 46 passes during the game, which was the third highest showing his ability to keep the continuity of play ticking over as Juventus and Sarri will look to build attacks from the back.

All goals scored by Napoli in the game were products of lapses in the concentration of the Juventus defence and that of De Ligt in particular. The Dutchman allowed Kostas Manolas to run free and head home Mario Rui’s cross from the free-kick ahead of the visitors’ first goal. It could be argued that the Greece international was allowed too much space in the six-yard box and he made no mistakes.

Just two minutes later, the former Ajax man let Hirving Lozano through on goal after he failed to get anywhere close to intercepting Piotr Zielinski’s cut-back. Following the counter, he looked lost, let Lozano slip and ran aimlessly into no-man’s-land to watch the Mexican make short work of Wojciech Szczesny.

In my opinion it would be harsh to point all fingers at De Ligt for a defensive debacle when the entire back-line was sub-par. I do not believe that this performance from De Ligt goes to show that Maurizio Sarri was right in resigning the former Ajax defender to the bench, despite his solid showings for his former club.

De Ligt like most players needs time to settle into his new team and adapt to the new league, despite the high level of maturity he has shown already.

In my opinion the team missed Chiellini and his leadership against Napoli, the lapses in concentration shown which can be attributed as a by product of nervousness could have been solved in Chiellini’s presence. The leader would have rallied his troops ensuring that they stay calm, focused and confident.

De Ligt is class, he is a Rolls Royce defender which was proven game after game last season. Even when doubted against bigger and better opposition in the CL he delivered. People seem to forget that he is 20 years old, the young man is performing light years beyond his age and in time will prove the doubters and become a massive favourite with the Juventini.

As always thanks for the read, follow me on Twitter for more calcio content.

RT’s massively appreciated.

1 Comment

  1. An excellent, even-handed description of the recent events affecting Juve’s back line, and thrusting De Ligt into the crosshairs of the online community. Of course the young dutchman didn’t just become a terrible defender in the 2nd game of the season. Chiellini’s loss is a huge one, and there will always be serious doubt as to Bonucci’s ability to marshall the back line as calmly and sagely as the Captain. I would like to see the teaming of De Ligt and Demiral in the near future, starting against mid-table opponents, as I feel they can build ongoing chemistry as they are of the same generation and have complementary skill sets.


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