Matthijs de Ligt is ‘trying to learn’ from Juventus teammates Leonardo Bonucci and Giorgio Chiellini, but reveals he didn’t want to be a defender at first.
The 20-year-old centre-back came through the legendary Ajax academy and earned himself a €85m transfer to Turin last summer.
“It is important to know for yourself if you’re mentally right; if you’re ready, nobody can stop you,” he told Champions Journal.
“That is the thing that I started to realise and that is good also: to take a step back and see things that maybe you can improve. That is what I do. What I am saying is that mental ability is really important for defenders.”
He may only be 20, but De Ligt is already partner to Virgil van Dijk for the Netherlands, Bonucci and Chiellini at Juventus.
“It’s great to play with one of the best players in the world. And I guess we are a good duo. And now at Juventus with Bonucci and Chiellini, they are defenders with a lot of experience who know what it’s all about. I try to learn from them.”
However, it wasn’t always the case, because De Ligt had played as an attacking midfielder until the age of 15.
“I played a lot in midfield, scored some goals, provided assists, and then suddenly they told me it would be better for my career to go one position back, to centre-back.
“At the beginning I was thinking, ‘I don’t like being a defender,’ but now I’m starting to realise that the way I was brought up as a midfielder is helping me. So, I’m really happy that this was the development I had to go through.
“Since the emergence of that Barcelona team, the ‘tiki-taka’ team, everybody has wanted to play from the back. And to play from the back, you need defenders who are good with the ball. That’s why technical ability is really important in my role.”
Watch Serie A live in the UK on Premier Sports for just £9.99 per month including live LaLiga, Eredivisie, Scottish Cup Football and more. Visit: https://www.premiersports.com/subscribenow