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Kevin Kilbane | Matthijs de Li...

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Kevin Kilbane | Matthijs de Ligt would struggle in the Premier League


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Former Ireland winger Kevin Kilbane believes the 19-year-old would take some adapting to the physicality of English football.

Kilbane joined Friday morning's OTB AM to discuss speculation regarding the Ajax captain's future.

He thinks a move to the Premier League would not be a successful one for the Dutchman.

"I think Matthijs de Ligt would struggle in the Premier League with an Ashley Barnes type; that type of striker because he simply couldn't handle the physicality of it, and the pace of it," explained the ex-Sunderland man.

The Amsterdam side's CEO, Edwin van der Sar, revealed after Ajax lost to Tottenham in Wednesday's incredible Champion's League semi-final second leg that the centre-back would likely be moving to England or Spain.

De Ligt was outmuscled by Spurs forward Fernando Llorente in the build-up to the north London club's 95th minute-winning goal in the semi-final.

"Any sort of ball that's played down the side of him, he can deal with. He's got a little bit of pace but he looks a little bit heavy to me.

"He's got that sort of body that might struggle with weight issues as he goes forward in his career but certainly high balls played to him.

"Llorente is not the most physical of strikers, he's not that kind of player that's going to throw elbows and back into a player.

I've not necessarily seen that from him on a consistent basis."

Along with the physical issues, Kilbane also implied that the tactical style of the English top flight league would be too much of an adjustment.

The 110-capped international relayed an example from his time at Everton, when an unnamed player in the same mould of de Ligt joined the club.

"I think de Ligt might take a little bit of time to adjust in the Premier League at centre-half. I remember we signed a player for Everton, we paid five million for him.

"He came over to us in training, and we had youth team players that were destroying him. He couldn't deal with players racing into him because he didn't get players playing with their back to goal that really like to go and roll defenders.

"In training, we knew he was never going to be able to deal with it physically - and whether or not that's going to be the case with de Ligt because he's playing with everything in front of him."

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Ajax Ashley Barnes Champions League Edwin Van Der Sar Fernando Llorente Kevin Kilbane Matthijs De Ligt Niall Mcgrath Otb Otb Am Premier League

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