De Jong, Lozano and five Eredivisie youngsters to watch in 2017-18

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The new Eredivisie campaign kicks off on Friday after a busy summer for most clubs, meaning there are exciting new young talents to keep an eye on

With the likes of Davy Klaassen, Terence Kongolo, Jetro Willems and many more all gone this summer, the Eredivisie has lost some of the talented players always expected to move on to foreign adventures.

As a league where youngsters are given plenty of chances to shine, though, there are always plenty more ready to step up and take their place.

Last season, Davinson Sanchez, Matthijs De Ligt and Enes Unal were among those to grab attention for their impressive first seasons in the Dutch top flight. Here, Goal looks at some of the kids worth getting excited about this time around. 


FRENKIE DE JONG (AJAX)


Frenkie de Jong Ajax Manchester United Europa League final

Last season’s Talent of the Year in the second tier of Dutch football, Frenkie de Jong played a key role as Marcel Keizer’s Jong Ajax finished second.

The midfielder snubbed PSV to join Ajax from Willem II and made an immediate impression by walking into the starting XI in January 2016.

De Jong featured 11 times for the senior side last season under Peter Bosz, scoring once and even making a cameo in the Europa League final.

“Frenkie is a very modern midfielder who can also run,” the new Borussia Dortmund boss said of him. “He starts as a No.6, then moves further up and then ends up playing as a No.10."

The 20-year-old was praised after replacing 31-year-old Lasse Schone in the 1-1 Europa League draw at Nice in Ajax’s first game of the season, looking calm on the ball whether in tight spaces in and around the box or driving at pace from deep.

He is expected to be given many chances in the first-team under Keizer but will have to keep convincing to oust Schone completely.

The Netherlands U21 international fancies his chances though.

“The first team is where you want to be. I’ve done it already, but I can do better,” he told FCUpdate in May. “I have to make sure that I get even more dominant in the first-team.

“Ajax, of course, have a lot of good players. Besides teammates, they are also competitors, but you can learn from them and you must do that. Those guys are beyond me, but I must make sure I eventually get better than them.”


HIRVING LOZANO (PSV)


Hirving Lozano Mexico Confederations Cup

It took a long time to wrap it up, but the signing of 19-time Mexico international Hirving Lozano has been the highlight in a worrying summer for PSV.

The Eindhoven side have lost Hector Moreno, Davy Propper, Jetro Willems and Andres Guardado over the transfer window while they also crashed out of the Europa League at the first hurdle in a defeat to NK Osijek.

After last season’s third-place finish, a big improvement is needed from Phillip Cocu’s team and in the 22-year-old attacker, they have a bright and impulsive player expected to make a big impact.

Technical director Marcel Brands says PSV pursued him for six months and needed to get “creative” to contend with interest from Manchester City and lure him from CF Pachuca on a six-year contract.

Direct, quick and skilful with a penchant for shooting from the edge of the box, it is easy to see why the player nicknamed 'Chucky' attracted such attention.

Lozano featured three times in the Confederations Cup for Mexico this year, playing a starring role and scoring the winner against Russia on their way to the semi-finals.

After 140 games for Pachuca in which he scored 41 goals and won the Liga MX Clausura title before ending his time there with the CONCACAF Champions League crown, a European adventure was a must for Lozano.

“I'm going to further develop myself at PSV to see where my ceiling is,” he said upon his arrival in Eindhoven. 


CALVIN STENGS (AZ)


Calvin Stengs, Joris Overeem, AZ - FC Utrecht, play-off Europa League, 25052017

After just six games for AZ’s senior side, there is plenty of excitement around 18-year-old winger Calvin Stengs.

The AZ academy graduate scored in each leg as John van den Brom’s side thrashed Groningen in the Eredivisie’s Europa League playoff semi-finals. Later, he sent Joris van Overeem through for a simple finish with a delightful pass before forcing an own goal to help them to a 2-0 lead in the first-leg of the final against Utrecht.

After he was taken off after the hour mark, Dutch journalist Henk Span raged in his column in Het Parool saying: “AZ without Stengs is a cake without cherry, fries without mayo, a Rembrandt in the dark.”

He is a majestic player who drives forward with his head up and has a good reading of the game, which helps him react quickly and pick out good passes as he links up with other attackers.

A slender forward, Stengs was a bit of a late bloomer and there were fears he did not have what it takes to make it in the first team but his performances of late have left spectators very excited.

“You see that he is insightful and technically very skilled,” Koen Stam, his coach at AZ Under 19s, said. “Physically he also has a lot of potential. He has to keep growing, but that's logical.”


MANU GARCIA (NAC BREDA)


Manu Garcia

When Manu Garcia scored just a few minutes into his senior debut for Manchester City against Crystal Palace almost two years ago, it's hard to imagine he expected it would lead to a loan move to NAC Breda.

The 19-year-old may not have broken into Pep Guardiola's starting XI, but it is clear he has a big future in the game given his ability, attitude and intelligence.

The Spaniard was loaned to NAC in January this year and was an immediate hit for the Breda club, scoring two and setting up seven more in the league as they earned promotion to the top division.

A love affair has sparked between the player and the club, prompting them to bring him back for a full season. Garcia will play a key role once again this term.

Although he started his career as a central midfielder, Garcia has been played in a more advanced position at NAC and he was a great fit for the role.

His agility and skill help him dance out of trouble when surrounded by defenders, while his pace makes him tough to catch when he accelerates and he doesn't seem to need to look up to find team-mates with his excellent through balls.

"He is fantastic on the ball," coach Stijn Vreven said. "His anticipation and control are all good. He is a very high-quality player.

“He still has improvements, but he really has a lot of potential. Plus he has the mentality and drive, so he will reach a high level sooner or later.”


MASON MOUNT (VITESSE)


Mason Mount

One of five players on loan at Vitesse from Chelsea, 18-year-old Mason Mount arrived in Arnhem with a great deal of hype surrounding him.

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The midfielder joined Chelsea at the age of six and has already tasted success before playing in his first game of senior football. He won the UEFA Youth League and FA Youth Cup twice with Chelsea before playing an integral role in the England U19s’ European Championship success this summer.

Chelsea’s Academy Player of the Year makes dazzling runs forward and is a risky but excellent and clever passer who opens chances for team-mates with ease, or even finishes them off himself.

With so much promise in the early days of his career, his first season at professional level will come as a big test for the Portsmouth-born player.

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