De Boer: Clubs try to copy Ajax academy

The former Netherlands international has voiced his opinion that they should keep inventing new things in order to give their youngsters the best education possible
Ajax coach Frank de Boer has stressed that the Eredivisie champions must keep looking for new ways to revolutionise their youth academy in order to stay ahead of their rivals.

The Amsterdam giants' youth set-up is widely regarded as one of the best around in Europe, but De Boer has insisted that they cannot afford to sit back as other teams will try to close the gap by copying Ajax's philosophy.

"Everybody has been copying the Ajax youth academy, so we want something new again. And in 10 years' time everybody will copy us again. And we'll come up with something new once more," De Boer told Algemeen Dagblad.

"We want to be like high jumper [Dick] Fosbury. For years everybody jumped with their stomach over the bar. From out of nowhere, someone jumped backwards over the bar: Fosbury. Everybody said he was crazy, but two years later everybody used the same technique. That's the way things are going with Ajax, too.

"We want to help players to the next level. They shouldn't need two years to adapt to the level of play in the Eredivisie. Players will receive individual training from a certain age. Every player needs to be treated differently."

The Ajax academy has produced players such as Wesley Sneijder, Rafael van der Vaart, Nigel de Jong, Urby Emanuelson and Jan Vertonghen among others in recent years.