Amin Younes – A talent in search of a breakthrough at Ajax

Niklas Wildhagen is a football journalist who specialises in German football. He is editor-in-chief of the excellent website . You can follow him on Twitter: @Normusings

The U21 Euros were a disappointment from a German point of view. However, there were a few positive surprises from some players in the tournamen, one of whom waswas Amin Younes.

The 21-year-old winger was among the best players in Germany’s attacking front four. At times, Younes created chances all by himself, showing off his speed and abilities in direct duels with full backs. His best scene of the tournament came in Germany’s 3-0 win against Denmark. In a duel with a Danish defender on the edge of the area Younes simply put the ball past his opponent before he delicately crossed it with the outside of his right foot to the on storming Matthias Ginter, who slotted it in from close range.

Difficult times

The fact that Younes played a good tournament was surprising to many Bundesliga fans. His loan spell at Kaiserslautern during the 2014-15 season had gotten off to a decent start in the Hinrunde, but for the second part of the season his coach, Kosta Runjaic, decided to use him sparingly. Across his 14 matches in total, two goals and one assist, was the rather lacklustre return for the campaign Younes spent in the Bundesliga 2.

Nevertheless, Gladbach’s sporting director Max Eberl planned on extending the player’s contract after he had returned from his loan spell. Throughout his entire stay at the Borussia Park Younes struggled to get onto the pitch, and the upcoming season wouldn’t have been any different. As things stand he would have competed for playing time against the likes of Lars Stindl, Thorgan Hazard, Ibrahima Traore, Fabian Johnson, Patrick Herrmann and Andre Hahn.

In the end Younes opted for a move to Ajax instead of gathering playing time in yet another loan spell.

Street footballer trying to find his way in the Bundesliga

The fact that the 21-year-old has chosen to turn his back on Gladbach to travel to the Netherlands has raised some eyebrows in Germany. However, the example of Mark Uth proves that young players can profit from the step down to the Eredivisie.

His coach in the U21 national team Horst Hrubesch says that he understands the move and that he thinks that Younes is going to do well in the Netherlands. He told Goal: “Amin plays well as long as he feels that he can trust his coach.”

There was little doubt that Younes trusted his coach at Borussia Mönchengladbach. Already in 2012 Gladbach coach Lucien Favre was full of praise for the player.

“Amin is great, he’s always able to create chances, he’s good in one-on-one’s and he can fill in on every position upfront.”

Younes himself credits his background as a street footballer for these abilities, telling Goal: “Acting out of instinct is very much something that is rooted within me. There’s a certain finesse in how one treats the ball, how one acts in one-on-ones, that one only can pick up on the street.

“Back in those days we had a broken ball and 50 boys who wanted to play with it. One must have a certain level of skill to hold onto the ball against all of these guys.”

Under Favre, Younes was given his Bundesliga debut at the age of 18 towards the end of the 2011-12 season. The midfielder’s first, and only, goal in the Bundesliga came 10 months later when he scored in a 1-1 draw with Borussia Dortmund in February 2013.

However, ever since, Younes has struggled to break into the starting line-up, simply because of the wealth of talent Favre has at his hands at the moment. His move to Ajax seems a logical step in that regard, as it allows him to collect valuable playing time in the Champions League, which would represent a massive step forward in his career at this time.

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