Moroccan wingback Noussair Mazraoui says he is grateful that AFC Ajax coach Erik ten Hag recognised his talent.
The Eredivisie giants spent big money signing the likes of Luis Orejuela and Rasmus Kristensen in the European summer, but Mazraoui has the right flank locked down.
The 20-year-old says he draws confidence from being a regular for ten Hag: "Despite all the purchases the club has made for my position. You have to dare to do that as a trainer,” the Dutch-born player told VI.
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“You have enough trainers who are guided by the purchases that have been made, but that is not the case. Ten Hag looks at the training sessions and competitions, and when you show yourself, you gain confidence.”
The coach himself has weighed in on the issue, explaining that Mazraoui’s success has come on the back of him improving his fitness and strength.
“When I started at Ajax in January, I knew Noussair by name,” said ten Hag.
"But I did not know his exact qualities. That changed quickly, because in the first week, in the training camp in Portugal, he already made a very good impression on me.
“At that time it was clear that he was still fragile. He was not yet optimally durable.
“We started working on this in the months that followed. In consultation with the medical staff, a good plan was drawn up for this so that he could physically grow and become more durable.
“That process went well, but in the end a player has to do it himself.”