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查理·塞特福德:少年守门员的目标是在阿贾克斯和英格兰队取得成功

发布时间:2022-04-05 作者:90vs足球比分

“我可以为荷兰踢球,但我想让我父亲感到骄傲,”阿贾克斯的少年门将查理·塞特福德说。


“他是英国人,一直在我身边。我一直想实现的一件事就是为英格兰踢球。”


作为一名英格兰18岁以下国家队球员,塞特福德正试图在职业比赛中与四届欧洲冠军建立联系。


作为俱乐部的第三个守门员,他已经成为教练埃里克·滕·哈格的一线队主力。


虽然周二阿贾克斯将在冠军联赛中迎战本菲卡,但这对这位17岁的球员来说是另一个值得纪念的时刻。


Setford was on the bench for both victories against Borussia Dortmund in the group stage and was there on Friday when Ajax won 3-2 at Cambuur to strengthen their position at the top of Eredivisie.


The experiences are priceless at such a formative stage of Setford's career, as he outlined in an exclusive chat with BBC Sport.


Making dad proud

Setford was born in Haarlem in 2004, to a Dutch mother and English father, the golfer Chris Setford.


He was scouted by Ajax from his local club when he was seven and has been there ever since, signing a three-year professional contract in 2020.


In addition to his exposure at first-team level, Setford has made seven appearances this season in Eerste Divisie, the Dutch second division, for Jong Ajax, the club's reserve side.


And he has progressed at international level too. Having played up to Under-16 level for the Netherlands, he switched his allegiance to England in the summer of 2019 - wanting to make his father proud.


"I have had a largely English upbringing," Setford said. "Everything at home is practically English. We watch a bit of Dutch TV and some of the music is Dutch but it is mostly English at home. We tend to watch more English football than Dutch because it is more entertaining and interesting to follow."


The Jong Ajax experience

Had Setford been at an English club, the chances are they would now be looking for a loan move to help him get more experience, given the wide acceptance that the Under-23 football played in Premier League 2 is not the standard required to allow a smooth transition to first team.


At Ajax, Setford doesn't have that problem - with Ajax's reserve side giving him professional experience in the Dutch second tier.


"The Eerste Divisie is great to play in if you are at Ajax and you are 17, 18 or 19," he said. "You get to play against men at big clubs. It's pressure. It's high level. It is also about money. You are playing against people who are fighting for their money, who already have kids.


"In England, you don't have the equivalent of Jong Ajax. The Under-23 league is not a proper league in the sense you are only playing against people your own age. It is a big step from that to the Premier League.


"With Jong Ajax, you play in a league where three points are important and where you can't afford to make sloppy mistakes or switch off because you will be punished."


Making the next step

Setford is enjoying mixing experiences with Jong Ajax and the first-team environment.


The senior side are attempting to reach the Champions League quarter-finals for the second time in four years - going into Tuesday's last-16 second leg with Benfica level at 2-2.


Ten Hag has made a significant impact in just over four years as Ajax manager, and is on Manchester United's radar to become their next permanent boss.


Setford feels he has benefited from the added intensity that he has faced when joining up with Ten Hag's first team.


"First-team training sessions are at a very high level," Setford said. "At Jong Ajax, there is more intensity because they can take more risks in their sessions than the first-team can. But the first team shoot with much more power and much more accuracy. It is a higher level, another step, Champions League level.


"It is difficult being a goalkeeper and saving those shots. You need to be alert, you need to be sharp. You can't switch off. That's when you realise there is another step above and you are not good enough yet to be the first-team goalkeeper."


Setford is provided with a lot of feedback about his own abilities and the areas he needs to improve on.


"You need to be explosive, to get to shots that go to the far corner," he said. "For myself, I feel I am lacking the best technique to reach and go to the corner. I save a lot of balls obviously but the balls that come into the far corner, I struggle with.


"Over the past few months, I have realised my left foot is more explosive than my right. Every day at training I work on my explosiveness, with the trainers putting the balls into the top corner, so I can jump and land correctly as well, with the right technique."


The Premier League aim

Setford is not the only member of his family on Ajax's books. Younger brother Tommy is also at the club - as a goalkeeper - with the stated aim on the family website "to be better than his brother".


Charlie says the family are "living the dream", although with a sportsman for a dad as well, it has made for a pretty competitive Setford household, even if Charlie is adamant that "at ping-pong and football", his dad "knows who's boss".


The immediate aim for Setford is to hope Ajax beat Benfica and that he gets more positive experiences as his career develops.


But he has long-term plans too - and that involves the Premier League, even though he has never actually played any club football in England.


"I am at Ajax at the moment and my focus is completely there," he said. "But the Premier League is the biggest league in the world and eventually, I do want to make that step. That - and playing for England - are big dreams for me."


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