Talent Fitz-Jim awaits breakthrough at errant Ajax: ‘Ready for next step’
In a mostly messy season in Amsterdam, a budding talent is finding his way. Kian Fitz-Jim is 19, now playing his third season in the Keuken Kampioen Divisie and hitching his way into Ajax’s first, but making a definitive breakthrough in an eleven-man team that is largely errant through the season is proving difficult.
The defensive midfielder briefly trotted into Ajax 1 twice in the league, as a substitute away from SC Cambuur and NEC. Not yet in an Eredivisie match in his own Johan Cruijff Arena. And so Fitz-Jim, who did start in the cup matches with FC Den Bosch and De Graafschap (again both times away from home), is not yet satisfied.
“I think as a human being you are never really satisfied with what you have and you always want more. I’m at that point now. I made my debut and I want more.” But the question is whether the talent is going to get many playing minutes this premier league season.
Tricky playing schedule
Is Fitz-Jim close to it? “Not very much, if I’m honest. I still have some guys ahead of me in the selection. That’s tough. And now also with the playing schedule it is difficult,” he looks ahead to Ajax’s remaining matches, with games against AZ and FC Twente, among others. “But I’ll do my best and when my moment comes, I’ll be there.”
Fitz-Jim: “Only in the winter I was transferred to the A-selection. You did notice that things weren’t going well at the club.”
In that turmoil, Dusan Tadic proved to be a point of calm for Fitz-Jim. “Really a good captain. He always has time for you and is just ALWAYS helping others. Even though we’re eating, in the gym or on the field. He’s always busy. And then it doesn’t matter what role you have on the team. But also the guys who are a bit younger and have been in the A squad a bit longer. Everyone wants to help.”
‘Best club in the Netherlands’
But: “It’s my third year in the first division, so I think I’m ready for the next step.” He doesn’t want to mention the word ‘rental’ too soon, “but more minutes in the premier league would be ideal.”
“Ideally I would like to stay at Ajax. But if I’m rented out this summer, that’s it.” Fitz-Jim, who scored three goals and provided six assists in 30 Division I games this season, has not yet had a conversation with the club. “It’s things I’m thinking about, though.”
So leaving the capital is something the Amsterdam native prefers not to do. He already saw his club from the outside when he played for AZ in youth. Partly because of that, Fitz-Jim does understand that people sometimes say Ajax is arrogant. “But it’s more self-confidence than arrogance. In my opinion, Ajax is the best club in the Netherlands. If you then behave accordingly, it’s quite logical.”
So breaking through at the “best club in the Netherlands” remains the goal. Perhaps John Heitinga, his old coach at Jong Ajax and now the interim coach of the first team, is still a decisive factor in that. By the way, Fitz-Jim does not see any difference between Heitinga with the pledges and with Ajax 1.
“No, I think he has his own vision. Many things I saw from him at Jong Ajax, I see again now.” Heitinga may well stay from him when the season is over. “If we take the cup and maybe still become champions, that’s definitely in order.”