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Lucas Andersen – another Ajax starlet aiming for the top

Danish players and Ajax have had a close connection for years. Striker Tom Søndergaard was the first to arrive in 1969, from Rapid Vienna, in a faraway era. Since that move 44 years ago, a total of 23 Danes have played in the Ajax first-team – the highest amount of foreign players from one nation to play for the Dutch side. After Michael Krohn-Dehli and Dennis Rommedahl left at the end of the the last decade, both in their late 20’s, a new Danish era was arriving in Amsterdam.

It all began with super talent Christian Eriksen making his debut in 2010. Soon Nicolai Boilesen and Viktor Fischer followed, creating a new force with Dutch talents and experienced midfielders Christian Poulsen and Lasse Schöne. Last summer, another talent arrived, Lucas Andersen, and it seems the influx hasn’t stopped yet, as the summer signing of Markus Bay indicates.

Whereas the talents of Eriksen and Fischer are recognised throughout the football world, Andersen’s star has yet to shine. Now spending his time with the Reserves who have been brought into the second tier of Dutch football, he is slowly but steadily developing himself and working towards conquering a spot in De Boer’s senior squad. A bit too slow for his own liking, he told Danish newspaper Sporten just a few weeks ago.

“I felt homesick for a long time in Amsterdam,” Andersen admitted. “Sometimes, I even thought about quitting. The idea of sticking me in a foster family was really good, with me having plenty of time to focus on adapting and improving under the wings of adults. But as a young man who enjoys his freedom, to decide without asking permission to others, I never felt quite at home.”

This all changed after the Christmas break though, when Andersen got his own apartment, saw his girlfriend Thea move in and got to talk to fellow Danish young’uns Eriksen, Boilesen and Fischer on a trip to Brazil. “On the first team trip to Brazil, I had several conversations with Christian Eriksen, Nicolai Boilesen and Viktor Fischer. They told me they also had trouble adapting to the Netherlands at the start. I then realised I probably wasn’t the first, nor the last, to think as negatively as I had.”

Against Groningen, Andersen made his debut, playing in the last 10 minutes. The youngster had one clear-cut opportunity but smacked it off of the post. It wasn’t a significant miss as Ajax were already cruising and went on to win the game. Most people saw his performance as a bright one, but Andersen himself was distraught to have failed to find the net.

It was the only time Andersen would be involved in the first-team that season, a disappointment for the player himself. “I had hoped for more playing time. But I accept and understand De Boer’s call. He has many excellent players available to him whom are already in the senior squad.

“Although my first season at Ajax was hard, I’m glad I came here. I’ve become a better player here. I’ve been assigned a personal trainer by the club, to help me work on my physique, which has improved a lot here. Technically, I was already able to get along, but in terms of strength, I have to get better.”

In the 2013-2014 season overture, where Ajax met AZ to duke it out for the Johan Cruyff Schaal, Andersen made another first-team appearance, replacing Bojan in the second-half. Despite getting some good chances, he failed to score his first goal, his biggest chance and effort being saved by Esteban. But glimpses of quality were present, which is what matters most.

Last Monday, he joined the Reserves in their first ever Jupiler League game against Telstar. In a hot and humid ArenA, Andersen proved in lethal form, netting twice to make the night his. In the shadows of the first team, the slick-footed showman is slowly but steadily developing himself into quite a player. Lucas Andersen, aiming for the top.

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