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'Gravenberch should win NxGn 2020' – Former winner Kluivert backs 'Pogba-esque' Ajax youngster

  • March 30, 2020
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The Roma forward won the prize for the world’s best teenage footballer in 2018 and is backing his 17-year-old compatriot to follow in his footsteps

Former NxGn winner Justin Kluivert has backed Ajax teenager Ryan Gravenberch to emulate him and win the 2020 prize.

Every year Goal counts down the top 50 teenage footballing talents on the planet, with Kluivert crowned the winner back in 2018 having broken into the first team at Ajax.

The son of former Barcelona and Netherlands forward Patrick, Kluivert beat the likes of Matthijs de Ligt, Mason Mount and Kai Havertz to the prize two years ago while both 2017 winner Gianluigi Donnarumma and 2019 victor Jadon Sancho were also included on the list.

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Now aged 20, Kluivert has had his say on who he believes should follow in his footsteps when the 2020 list is revealed on Tuesday, March 31.

The likes of Mason Greenwood, Ansu Fati, Rodrygo and Gabriel Martinelli are in the running this time around, but Kluivert believes compatriot Gravenberch deserves celebrating after a number of impressive performances in the Ajax first team this season.



“I think that the player who should win NxGn is Ajax’s Gravenberch,” Kluivert, who now plays for Roma having left Amsterdam in the summer of 2018, told DAZN. “He is the new Paul Pogba. 

“He is very good and very young. He is truly a top player.”

Gravenberch has stepped up to become a regular in Erik ten Hag’s side during the 2019-20 campaign having originally made his debut for the Eredivisie champions as a 16-year-old in September 2018.

In appearing against PSV he became the youngest player to ever represent the Dutch giants in a league match, breaking a record previously held by five-time Champions League winner Clarence Seedorf.

So far this season he has made 12 appearances for the Ajax first team, scoring three goals as Ten Hag’s side aim to defend the Eredivisie title they won for the first time in five years in 2019.

Kluivert, meanwhile, has fought his way back into the Roma starting XI under Paulo Fonseca this season, scoring seven goals in his 27 appearances across all competitions.

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