RYAN GRAVENBERCH is the 'better version of Paul Pogba', according to the teenager's former coach.
The 18-year-old joined Ajax's academy in 2010 and became the club's youngest Eredivisie player aged 16 years and 130 days.
Brian Tevreden, who promoted Gravenberch to the Under-15s at Ajax aged 12 then made him captain, hailed the young midfielder – and made some bold comparisons, including to the £89million Manchester United man.
He told Goal: "Physically, I see Frank [Rijkaard] in him from back in the day because he’s tall and very strong.
"But technically, I would say he’s a better version of Pogba in his best days at Juventus, in terms of his technique and his presence on the pitch.
"He’s very dominant like Pogba was, and that’s what I see in Ryan."
Asked if his next step will be to one of Europe's giants, he added: "Yes, for sure. I believe that.
"I saw it when Ryan was younger. He is still young, but the next step will be a big club in Europe and I believe he will be a big success over there.”
Gravenberch, who does not turn 19 until May, has racked up eight goals in 50 first-team appearances.
His performances propelling his team towards the league title and in Europe have alerted the attention of some of football's elite clubs – including Barcelona, Juventus and Manchester United.
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But this interest is no surprise to Tevreden, who spotted the teen's talent from a young age.
He said: "I knew him when he was seven years old playing for his local club in Amsterdam.
"Even in that age group he was unbelievable. You could see that this boy would be a good football player.
“At Ajax, I took him to the U15s when he was 12 years old. Not everyone was happy with me promoting, they thought he was not ready. One of the other coaches said he was young in his mind.
“But for me that was absolutely rubbish, because technically he was really gifted, physically he was strong enough and it was too easy for him in his old age group.
“So I said I want him in the U15s. I made him captain as well and he did fantastic. I remember one the first games he played with me for the U15s he scored a hat-trick in the Super Cup, I couldn’t believe that.
“He’s a really good player, as you see now in the first team. He is playing exactly the same way as he did in the academy.
“There is no tension when he has the ball. He is not scared, it’s just like he was in the academy and that’s why I like Ryan.”
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