Next up in our series of best prospective European talents is Dutchman Ryan Gravenberch.
Just a reminder, to feature in this series a player must play for European country and club and be 23 or under to feature.
Name: Ryan Gravenberch
Current Club: Ajax
Club Football: Ajax
In June 2018, Gravenberch won the ‘Abdelhak Nouri Trofee’, which recognises the best talent in the Ajax academy. On the same day he won that award, he also signed his first professional contract with Ajax.
He made his debut for Jong Ajax (Ajax’s reserve team) in August 2018, in a Eerste Divisie game against FC Dordrecht.
Gravenberch made his debut for the Ajax first team in September 2018, when he came on in a 3-0 loss away to PSV Eindhoven. This meant Gravenberch became the youngest player to play for Ajax in the Eredivisie at 16 years and 130 days. He scored his first goal for the club, when he scored in the 7-0 cup win against HVV Te Werve.
Gravenberch went on to play nine league games in the curtailed 19/20 season and managed to score two league goals.
He then went on to feature regularly in the 20/21 season, when he featured in 32 league games. Gravenberch managed to score three goals in the league last season, and he also assisted five goals.
The 20/21 season also saw Gravenberch score his first Champions League goal and he contributed to a team that won a league and cup double.
International Football: Netherlands
Gravenberch featured for the Netherlands in numerous age groups until he received his first senior call up in November 2020. He did not make his debut until March 2021, when he came on against Turkey in a World Cup Qualifier. In the build up to EURO 2020’s he scored his first international goal in a friendly with Georgia.
Gravenberch was picked for the Netherlands squad that is currently playing in EURO 2020.
One of Gravenberch’s strengths is his passing. He averaged 68.4 passes per game in the league, the fifth highest in the Eredivisie. His short passing is also an important part of his game, which is demonstrated by an average of 57.3 accurate short passes per game. Gravenberch’s overall passing accuracy is also quite impressive, as the Ajax man averaged a pass completion of 87.2% in the Eredivisie.
Another one of Gravenberch’s strengths is his ability to take shots from distance. In the Eredivisie he averaged 1.1 shots from outside the box, which is higher than any Ajax player.
Gravenberch is also confident in possession of the ball, which is due to him being confident in his close control and his strength which helps him maintain possession. He averaged 1.6 successful dribbles a game last season and his ability to be comfortable on the ball and his impressive passing allows him to dictate the game.
There is room to improve in defensive areas. He can improve in numerous defensive areas. One of those is the number of interceptions as he only averaged 1.4 interceptions a game in the league last season, which means he may need to improve his reading of the game when out of possession.
Another area to improve is his aerial prowess. At 6ft 2inches he should be using that height to his advantage, but only won 1.2 aerial duels per game in the Eredivisie last season, which could be improved.
Ryan Gravenberch can be a world class player and will be attracting interest from the biggest clubs across Europe.
He is a dynamic midfielder who can carry the ball well, passes the ball beautifully and will only improve with more games as he gets older.