Netherlands and Juventus central defender Matthijs de Ligt has revealed that he was told to learn from Giorgio Chiellini and Leonardo Bonucci as he looks to develop himself into the very best in the business and build upon a solid first season at Juventus.
The 20-year-old defender had joined the Italian giants in a £67.8million transfer from Ajax last summer.
The 2019 Kopa Trophy winner has featured in 26 matches for the Serie A giants in all competitions this season so far as he looks to establish himself in their resolute defence.
The Dutchman says that he was lured to Turin to play alongside veteran center backs Chiellini and Bonucci.
‘Bonucci and Chiellini are just players, but they are players who won everything for nine years and know what it’s all about,‘ he told Ziggo Sport.
“I was told: ‘You are a great player, but above all learn from these lads. We need you this season. It’s important that I am there.”
‘You need far more balance at Juve compared to Ajax, to focus more on the defensive movements, which is what I’m doing now. The Champions League is more physical compared to Serie A, as against Lyon I was able to cover 70m and go get the ball. Perhaps that is more my style.’
The youngster has struggled at times this season with defensive errors resulting in occasional fan backlash, but as he says he is soaking in the opportunity to grow, particularly with the presence of Chiellini and Leonardo Bonucci.
“There are more eyes on you and people expect a great deal, all of which is new compared to my time at Ajax.”
The Holland international further said that he is already beginning to see improvements in his performances.
“I think that I’ve done well in every match since the start of November and I am happy that the club has faith in me,” de Ligt said.
“I was on the bench for a little while and talked it over with the coach. I then had that problem with my shoulder and then a groin strain, so I couldn’t train.”
The coach told me very clearly: ‘Calm down, we need you further along in the season and in your best shape, so there’s no rush.’