- Matthijs De Ligt joined Serie A champions Juventus from Ajax for £67million
- There have been some mistakes and some defensive inaccuracy from De Ligt
- The 20-year-old has the quality and strength to become the best in the league
- Michel Platini, Zinedine Zidane and even Pavel Nedved had problems settling in
Matthijs De Ligt is tackling his debut Serie A season with great commitment.
There have been some mistakes and some defensive inaccuracy but the 20-year-old has the quality and strength to become the best defender at Juventus as well as the best in the league.
The beginning of every foreign player’s career in Italy is full of problems: Michel Platini, Zinedine Zidane and even Pavel Nedved had many problems during their baptism in Serie A.
Juventus star Matthijs De Ligt is tackling his debut Serie A season with great commitmen
DE LIGT 2018-19 STATS
Yellow cards: 1
Red cards: 0
Clean sheets: 1
Indeed, the Dutch international was left on the bench on Saturday as the Old Lady struggled past Verona at home.
It was the second time already in his short Juve career that he has been an unused substitute, a telling sign of an inauspicious start to life in Italy’s top flight.
But there is still confidence from his coach that his fortunes in Turin are set to turn.
De Ligt is following Maurizio Sarri’s training plan very carefully. Every day he stops for 30 minutes to talk with the technician and they also talk a lot in the locker room.
The former Chelsea coach believes he has found two major problems to solve with De Ligt.
The centre back does not know how to defend diagonal balls well, which is fundamental in most important European matches, and against Napoli he made a very serious mistake allowing Hirving Lozano to score.
De Ligt’s second problem is that he needs to be more robust in challenges. The defender appeared to be very shy in his first few months in Italy and Sarri knows he needs rhythm to adapt.
He must be more aggressive in challenges so that his opponents don’t have it easy.
The start of every foreign player’s career in Italy is problematic, as Zinedine Zidane found out
Michel Platini (right) also had difficulties when he moved to Serie A to play for Juventus
Kalidou Koulibaly at Napoli improved after 45 days of hard training under Sarri, De Ligt will soon have to prove he has the same ability to adapt.
The Holland international has appeared tired and not physically up to scratch because in Italy there is a greater emphasis on training.
But he has not lost his smile. He continues to train every day and follows an Italian language course with his girlfriend, AnneKee Molenaar, who has chosen to live the Italian adventure with him, three times a week.
In training, De Ligt is always pampered by Cristiano Ronaldo and Gianluigi Buffon.
While Sarri has told him not to change how he defends, the Juventus boss believes the habits and movements of his team-mates will improve his own game.
De Ligt and his girlfriend AnneKee Molenaar are following an Italian language course
In training, De Ligt is looked after by Juventus’ talisman Cristiano Ronaldo (left)
Since the battle against Atletico Madrid there have been very positive signs: De Ligt was very good with his head and in the closing stages of the game overcame some tricky stages.
De Ligt’s diet will be fundamental. Sarri has ordered his staff to measure the carbohydrates given to the youngster.
The low-carb diet will include very little and lots of animal and vegetable proteins.
Sarri continues to invest time and patience to improve the technical and character traits of the former Ajax captain.
Ronaldo and De Ligt having a chat before a pre-season friendly against Juventus’ reserves
Maurizio Sarri continues to invest time and patience to improve the character traits of De Ligt