The youth academy of Dutch heavyweights Ajax Amsterdam is easily among the best in Europe, perhaps even the world’s best over the last 15 years.
During the 2010s alone, the academy has produced star players including the likes of Christian Eriksen, Matthijs De Ligt, Ryan Gravenberch, and more recently Jurrien Timber.
While these names were entirely home-grown players who underwent a natural progression through the ranks, the club is also known to sign prospects from other academies and inculcate them into their own youth system.
The practice is pretty standard across all of Europe, and Ajax have had great success with it over the years, with an example being Barcelona midfielder Frenkie De Jong.
While it’s still early days, the club might have another such prospect on their hands, and the player, not unlike De Jong, is also a midfielder.
19-year-old Kian Fitz-Jim has impressed for months with his performances for Jong Ajax (Ajax reserve team), and in recent weeks, he has been popping up on the radar of fans and scouts alike.
Trained as a midfielder with the Dutch principles of Voetbal, Fitz-Jim began his Football career with the academy of AZ Alkmaar, following which, he was picked up by Ajax at the age of 16.
Capable of being deployed as No.6 or 8, the youngster is credited with having excellent technical abilities and calmness in possession.
He’s also known to be a hard-working defender, and his style of play is generally all-action.
After impressing for Jong Ajax, Fitz-Jim trained with the senior team on a number of occasions, making his senior debut in March of 2021.
While his talents on the field have got plenty of people talking, his appearance has also turned into a subject of discussion, but unfortunately, not a pleasant one.
Born to a Surinamese father and a mother from Hong Kong, the young midfielder comes from a diverse background, and naturally, his facial features are pretty unique.
Many have even stated that the youngster looks feminine or ‘like a girl’ because of his facial traits and his hairstyle.
Sadly, these comments aren’t just suggestions, as Fitz-Jim is often ridiculed and trolled for ‘looking like a girl’.
At just 19, facing mockery such as this can be distressing for almost anybody, but the midfielder is not one to back down, he even issued a response to these claims on the Inside Ajax show on Ziggo Sport.
He said, ‘People want to say that I look like a girl, but I don’t care, I had to deal with this my whole life. If people get happy by saying this, just let them. Almost nobody says this to my face.
If you are a grown-up man and say this, I think it’s childish’.
His response is measured, level-headed and even resilient to a degree, it goes on to show his mental strength at such a young age, which will undoubtedly help him in his Footballing career.