Central midfielders come in a variety of forms, and the roles occupied have become vaster and more complex as each year rolls over. We now have Mezzalas, Registas, Destroyers, Shuttlers, Box-to-Box players and Playmakers taking up the reigns in midfield. Europe bears the most fruit when it comes to finding 'world class' talents in any position, and we are currently blessed with the likes of Jude Bellingham, Pedri and Jamal Musiala tearing it up on the grandest stage. But today we thought it fitting to analyze three alternative candidates, that could one day reach that 'world class' stardom. Here is our analysis of the strongest up and coming central midfielders under the age of 21.
Erik Ten Hag – Ajax – Tactical Analysis
Since taking over for Marcel Keizer in December 2017, Erik Ten Hag has been a revelation at AFC Ajax. In fact, it would have been difficult for anyone to do a better job. The Dutch manager scraped Ajax back into the title race in his first season in charge, only missing out by four points, and since then has won the Eredivisie, gotten his team to the UEFA Champions League semi-final and now looks set to win the league all over again. That has all culminated in an outrageous 74% of his matches won since the tail-end of 2017. This season they're up to 81% of their matches won, sitting eleven points clear at the top of the league. So with their fantastic performances and intriguing tactics along the way, here is RDF's Tactical Analysis of Erik Ten Hag's Ajax in 2020-21.