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Former Heerenveen youth coach Jan de Jonge has spoken of working with Hakim Ziyech while he was still a youngster.
Ziyech made his way through the Heerenveen academy and was at the club from 2007 to 2014 until he moved to Ajax before eventually sealing a deal to Chelsea.
Jan de Jonge has revealed that Moroccan star Hakim Ziyech was the best number 10 he worked with in his career.
“When I first saw him, he must have been about fourteen,” Jan de Jonge told France Football of Hakim Ziyech.
“He had just entered the youth academy and he looked very fragile. But he already had his creativity back then, so you knew he had a lot of potential.
“The fact that he was small and fragile could have become a problem, but he was fortunate that not so much value was attached to it in our training.”
Jan de Jonge also tried to compare Ziyech with Dutch legend Johan Cruyff as they both had small stature but incredible ability on the ball.
He continued: “I don’t want to compare him to Johan Cruyff, far from it. But if you look at photos of those two when they were young, you see similarities in their physiques. Despite his physical shortcomings, Hakim was very dynamic and aggressive. If you add his exceptional left foot to that, you have a top player.
“This boy put the ball with his left leg where he wanted, when he wanted. He is the very best number 10 I have ever worked with. But I’d be lying if I said I thought he’d kick it that far. He has taken incredibly big steps in recent years.”