Date of Birth: 11/03/2000 (age 18)
Place of Birth: Almere, Netherlands
Nationality: American / Dutch
Height: 5’9″ (175cm)
Weight: 137 lbs (62kg)
Position: Right-back, Left-back
Current Club: AFC Ajax Amsterdam
Current International: United States
Market Value: €600,000 (Transfermarkt.com)
Very Strong: Pace, acceleration, dribbling, technique, link-up play, one-two passes, close control, balance, determination, work rate, athleticism
Strong: Crossing, weak foot, vision, creativity, anticipation, concentration, dealing with high pressure, 1-on-1 defending, tackling, passing, toughness, shot power
Decent: Composure, physical strength
Weak: Aerial duels
Very Weak: —
Style of Play
Dest is a very attack-minded right-back whose driven playing style fits exactly into Ajax’s direct system. He likes to get forward whenever needed, and got the required attributes to roam freely like a wide playmaker, thanks to his prior experience of starting the career as a winger. At the age of 18, the American already proved to have some indistinguishable qualities from those of Dani Alves and Marcelo, one of the world’s greatest attacking full-backs of 2000s through mid-2010s, such as great change of pace, exceptional dribbling, excellent teamwork, and gifted out-and-out athelticism.
- Likes to go forward
- Likes to stay wide and cuts inside
- Very active in the opposition’s midfield line
- Excellent at creating chances using his teammates
- Great change of pace
- Finds wide passes using his both feet
- Fast transition from defending to attacking
- Runs behind the winger who has the ball, mainly to penetrate the space behind the opposition’s full backs
- Extremely unpredictable with the ball
- Expressive with his dribbles
- Seems to be very confortable and confident on taking players and on the ball, in general, thanks to the great combination of skill sets
- Often strikes the ball or finishes off goal chances
- Moves behind the defenders
- Uses his body well to shield the ball
- Likes to hold the opponent rather than diving in
- Seems to be very composed
- Times his slide/stand tackles really well
- Well-aware of the opponent’s movement of body
Sergiño Dest is another extremely exciting prospect that the Ajax Academy had again managed to produce. He is a stand-out player in his position among the 2000 age-group, (which also includes the likes of Max Aarons, Raoul Bellanova, Mateu Morey, and Jayden Bogle) not only at Ajax but also compared to most of the players from different clubs around the world.
Dest’s appearance is more than welcomed in modern football, where such complete full-backs like him take a huge part of the game. Not that there were less young talented players on the flank prior to this generation, and in fact, it is wrong since the amount of good full-backs has been going off the chart in recent years.
But his uniqueness comes from the fact that he is an American; the nation’s market is growing larger and larger, which will unaffectedly help their national team and youngsters to develop in quality to compete with the giants of European football in the near future. Yet, so far, they have not seen a proper, quality, young right-back who can take charge of their side defense for years. And as Dest is exactly that while being amongst the golden generation of the USMNT as well, the bar is set high for him.
The 18-year-old is definitely one of the top prodigies in the world right now. With the early experience at top levels, such as UEFA Champions League and USMNT(based on his recent call-up), we can expect a lot from him in the upcoming years. If he can get some constant playing opportunities at a high level and be lucky enough to avoid horrendous injuries, sky is the limit for the youngster.