Brian Brobbey – ‘More than just a goalscoring machine’ by @AjaxYA
Brian Brobbey is a name that many youth football fans might recognize. When you talk about Brobbey, you talk about goals. The talented striker scored an insane amount of goals in Ajax’ academy throughout the years. In the last four seasons he scored 94 goals in total. In this piece, you will learn more about the physically strong Ajacied.
Brian Brobbey joined the Ajax academy in 2010, at the age of 8. He started to play football in the youth academy of AFC, a well-known amateur club in Amsterdam. “I remember that my dad told me that Ajax had invited me. I couldn’t believe him when I heard it, but then I saw the letter as soon as I got back home. I was so happy and the first thing I thought was ‘I want to grab this chance’. I started with players such as Kenneth Taylor and Ryan Gravenberch in my team. That was just the beginning of a beautiful time…” (Ajax.nl). His Ajax journey started in the U9’s, together with among others Ryan Gravenberch, Kenneth Taylor, Donny Warmerdam, Ki-Jana Hoever and Jayden Braaf. Their team won a lot of (international) tournaments and trophies throughout the years. Brobbey was one of the captains of the team as well.
While his team went to the U15’s (Kenneth Taylor, Donny Warmerdam, Sontje Hansen and the earlier promoted Naci Ünüvar), Brian and Gravenberch were moved to the U16’s (S2016-2017). Brian struggled a little during that season. The most important reason for it was that he played as a winger rather than a striker. Nonetheless, he scored 17 goals and made his U17 debut already.
The 2017-2018 season was an incredible year for the striker. Brobbey was promoted to the U17’s and was joined by Kenneth Taylor, Sontje Hansen and Ki-Jana Hoever, who were all promoted from the U15’s to the U17’s. When Brian was 15 years old, he made his U19 debut during this season. In 8 matches he scored 6 goals and assisted once for the U19’s. He was involved in 43 goals in total (34 goals, 9 assists) for the U17’s and the U19’s that season. To little surprise, but Brobbey won the Ajax Youth Academy top scorer title with his 34 goals. His performances caught the eye of the Netherlands U17 coach, which resulted in Brobbey joining the Netherlands U17 team in May. The Dutch talents won the EURO U17 and Brobbey scored 3 goals during the tournament, one of which in the final against Italy U17. Netherlands U17 became European champions after they won on penalties. When the EURO U17 champions came back, he signed his first professional contract at Ajax in June 2018.
The following season (S2018-2019), Brobbey became a starter for the U19’s. Again, he impressed with a lot of goals. It went out to be a fantastic season. He won the top scorers title (again), made his U21/Pro debut, won the Eredivisie U19, won the U19 Cup and became European U17 champion back-to-back. In October (2018) he made his official U21/Pro debut, when he was 16 years old. He was for the second season in a row involved in 40+ goals. Brobbey scored (again) 34 goals and assisted 7 times. He scored once in the cup final (v FC Groningen U19, 3-1 win) and a few days later he scored one goal against Feyenoord U19 (2-0 win) in the title-decider. These matches were played a few days after the EURO U17 final against Italy U17 (4-2 win). Brobbey became the only Dutch talent that won the EURO U17 back-to-back with two different teams. During this tournament, he scored 3 goals as well.
During the 2019-2020 season Brobbey was promoted to the U21’s. He was going to play the biggest fixtures with the U19’s, but that plan went out of the window in an early stage of the season already. Ajax U19 was invited to open Estadi Johan Cruyff with a friendly match against FC Barcelona U19. The Ajax talents played a great game and won 2-0. Brobbey was tackled in – quite literally – the last seconds of the game. An ankle injury kept him next to the pitch until November, so he missed the Word Cup U17 in Brazil. On the 5th of November Brobbey made his return against Chelsea U19 in the UEFA Youth League. A few weeks later he scored his first goal (and the match winner) for Ajax U21 against NAC Breda. He played a few good matches, scored 9 goals and got injured again, just before the lockdown.
Brobbey is not merely a goal scoring striker, he is also very important for his team during build-up play. It can be said that this part of his game is still quite underrated. He can hold the ball, move away and create his own space or chance to shoot. He is impressively strong and uses his body very well.
Lower on the pitch, he can help the team by holding the ball in his feet and wait until the runs of other players. Especially when his team is under pressure, the defenders can shoot the ball towards him. When he can control the ball and hold it in his feet, it can be the end of the pressure. But it can also be the start of a new own (counter)attack. He is a goal-scoring-machine for sure, but he still can be even more deadly in front of goal. Brobbey is eager to learn as well. He watches clips of his examples, one of which is Didier Drogba, while also watching Klaas Jan Huntelaar during the first team training sessions if he can. “I dream about my first team debut almost every night. That I play a UEFA Champions League match with Ajax and score the winning goal, for example. Scoring a goal in the Johan Cruyff ArenA would be amazing. When that happens, I think I will shed a tear… I hope to play as long as possible at Ajax. And I hope that we can win a lot of trophies with the club. After that I want to make the step to the Premier League. One of my examples is Drogba. When I have time, I watch old clips of him” (Ajax.nl).
- Physical strength
- Hold-up play
- Creating his own chances/spaces
- Can help the team during build-up
- Runs in(to) the box
- Movement without the ball
- Can be more deadly in front of goal
- Deep runs