It feels like I’ve written a thousand blogs for FM20, but it’s only been 7. Still, that’s a lot more than I’ve usually done. I digress. It’s been a while since I’ve updated as I’ve fallen into my usual habit of finger-blasting the continue button without pause for reflection. Indeed most of my updates still go via my Slack channel, #a2zed, but I know some of you crave my blogs, you sorry bastards. Well here’s the next one.
Part 7 summarised Season 2…well I’ve now just started Season 5. So our ‘look back’ will be as short and sweet as I can manage. Apologies for the lack of imagery, that continue button is really getting worn out again.
Season 3, we won it, I should have blogged about it. But I didn’t. We bossed it all season only to stutter in the latter stages allowing PSV to claw their way back. Season 2 was dramatic with Ajax and we had another final day showdown. We had 2 point lead over PSV going into the final game of the season and, you guessed it, faced PSV – away from home. My fears were allayed as we ran out comfortable 2-0 winners. Lovely jubbly.
Season 4 was a more straight forward affair, domestically at least, winning the league after an away win at Ajax with 4 games to go. Our young squad never look troubled and our rivals continued to be inconsistent. Our Champions League run was impressive as we qualified 2nd in a group with Sp*rs, Roma & Monaco, beat Lazio comfortably over two legs only to then fall to a far superior Liverpool in the QF stage.
What I really wanted to focus on in this blog was the future of AZ. We’ve always had a young squad and I’d still love to have 50% of my squad full of players from the academy. I’d initially set this to be a target achieved by the end of season 5, this won’t be the case (I doubt) though great progress is being made here and it’s still something I’ll work towards as the seasons come and go. So let’s have a look at the future of AZ. The following chaps are all academy products:
I love Willemse. Adept as a winger or wide playmaker he has great physicals and mental atts at 18 and a couple of great technical ones he’ll no doubt develop. Already subject to a few £10m+ bids I’m fully conscious his future may lie elsewhere…but I sincerely hope to keep him here, and happy, for a few more seasons yet.
He’s first choice at AMR as a winger currently and has stated season 5 very well indeed.
No I can’t pronounce his name either. Ruijmgaart (it’s Roy-m-gaar in my head) has forced his way into my starting XI as the AP-A at MCL. Vision, passing, technique, decisions…oh yes he’s got them. Left footed too which I like for the position he’s playing. Again we’ve knocked back a few £10m+ bids but he’s shown no signs of wanting to leave…yet. No doubt destined for great things.
Goldmine has been with me since the beginning and I want to keep him till the very end. Can be inconsistent at times but loves a mazy run from his role as Mez(A) at MCR and as still a big part of my starting XI. Loves a worldy every now and then. Great fun to watch.
Made huge strides in his development during Season 4 I promoted The Boss to the first team at the back end of last season due to injuries. Now come the new season, an injury to Sardella meant this fella needed to start a few games – he’s been pretty good. So he’s retaining his place for now and is continuing to develop nicely. Should make the right back position his own.
Part of the first team squad and back up at left back De Koning looks like he could become a fantastic, defensive full-back. Already subject to a few bids from home and abroad I hope he remains focused on AZ. We have Luca Pellegrini at LB with Zehovic behind so there’s a chance De Koning will go out on loan this season.
Finally, we have Sergio. Arguably the player with the highest ceiling I certainly have high hopes for him. I considered keeping him backup for Angarita this season but I din’t want to stifle his development (now he’s 18) with poor game time. So he’s joined Heerenveen (who have great facilities) where I’m promised he’ll be a regular starter. Looking forward to him returning at the end of the season a better player and ready to challenge for a first team spot.
We have a number of cracking youngsters at the club who’ve been bought in but I wanted to focus on the AZ academy for this post. But I will leave you with our star man, Angarita, because it’d be bloody rude not to.
Until next time!