Name: Jairo Riedewald
Club: Crystal Palace
Date of Birth: 9 September 1996
Position: Centre-back/Full-back/Defensive midfielder
Jairo Riedewald – his career so far
Jairo Riedewald is definitely one of the more developed players on this list and already a fully-fledged first-team player at Crystal Palace. But at the age of just 23, he is still very far from being a finished product.
Still, the young defender started his footballing adventure back at Ajax’s academy, which he joined from SV Overbos at the age of 11. The Dutch giants were a major stepping stone for Riedewald and he advanced through the Amsterdam club’s academy, which was headed by Frank De Boer at that time, eventually reaching the first-team squad in 2013 and signing his first professional contract, handed to him by the same man.
The now 23-year-old defensive player ended up playing a total of 93 games for Ajax, even managing to score three goals and assist further three on the side as well. But in 2017, Crystal Palace swooped in and got their man during the summer transfer window. His last performance for Ajax was the Europa League final defeat against Manchester United in May 2017, only months before his move.
Interestingly enough, it was once again De Boer who was at the heart of everything and the two reunited at Selhurst Park. And Riedewald didn’t have to wait long for his Premier League bow and of course, it was De Boer who gave it to him a month after his signing when the Eagles faced Huddersfield Town.
The 23-year-old has been a steady part of Palace’s senior squad ever since, tallying 31 appearances since his arrival with one assist under his belt to show for. Of course, since we are still talking about a fairly young player at the beginning of his career, Riedewald wouldn’t really establish himself as a regular starter right from the very beginning and his 2018/19 season following De Boer’s sacking was non-existent.
But at this point, he is already someone the footballing world is well aware of and someone who still has an exciting future ahead.
Even though no concrete transfer rumours or transfer news are suggesting Riedewald’s future at Crystal Palace could be in danger, it still remains to be seen what exactly does Roy Hodgson have in store for the young defender.
The 23-year-old has been deployed at positions that are not exactly his preferred ones and just the fact that he spent most of his time under the new coach on the bench says a lot about his current situation.
But there is clearly talent and potential still there when it comes to the lad and it will be interesting to see any kind of Crystal Palace news emerge on the topic as we slowly approach the summer transfer window.
For Riedewald, if nothing changes as far as his status at the club is concerned, it could very well be a turning point at Selhurst Park, one way or the other.
The most interesting part of the young player’s profile is definitely the sheer versatility that has come to light at Crystal Palace. Even though he was mostly viewed as a midfielder by trade, having played a big part of his career in various positions in that area of the pitch, he had to plug holes and adapt for the Eagles.
That saw him change roles and drop even deeper on the pitch, slotting in as a full-back and as a centre-back when needed. But he adapted brilliantly, dropping some fantastic performances when he was actually called into action.
Often, he looked comfortable on the ball and extremely involved in the build-up, registering a high number of touches across the games but also doing his bit when out of possession and defending.
A strong tackler and with a keen eye for a good interception with the right dose of aggression, Riedewald certainly looks like a player that could play on the highest of levels if groomed properly.
It will, however, be up to Hodgson to recognise that and ensure his talents are not wasted.
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