Mexico’s Alvarez hits back at De Boer jabs

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Edson Alvarez didn’t want to hear Frank De Boer’s criticism of his play.

Mexico international Edson Alvarez was unhappy with Ajax youth coach and club legend Ronald de Boer’s comments about the 21-year-old lacking the creativity to play as a central midfielder against certain teams.

De Boer suggested that he wasn’t yet sure whether Alvarez is best suited to playing at center-back or in midfield, questioning whether the Mexican possesses enough invention in games in which Ajax is dominating possession.

“Against Valencia or Chelsea, which are good teams and have quality players, Edson could play as a midfielder,” said De Boer, speaking in Spanish, in an interview with ESPN. “But when Ajax has the ball, maybe he doesn’t have the necessary creativity; he’s not very creative in my opinion, but I have to see how he develops.”

Alvarez has become a regular in central midfield under Erik ten Hag since moving from Club America in the summer and scored on Tuesday in his Champions League group stage debut in Ajax’s 3-0 victory over Lille.

“I don’t know [De Boer],” Alvarez told ESPN after the game. “I haven’t had the pleasure of meeting him, but for some reason he said it. I’m focused on what the coaching staff tells me. I don’t think he had to say that because we are a family and we should look out for each other.”

Alvarez played as a center-back, right-back and eventually in central midfield for Club America and has featured in all three positions for the Mexican national team.

“I started playing at my last club as a central defender and then they saw qualities to play me in midfield, I think I can play both positions,” said Alvarez. “I think that God gave me the gift of playing football and the joy of playing football.”

Ten Hag has praised the way Alvarez has adapted to the Dutch club and De Boer also had some positive words about Mexican players.

“[The] Mexican plays with their heart and always give everything,” said De Boer. “They are focused and are fighters. They are always ready to fight. With the ball they are good technically and that is important in Ajax, because we play with our heads and not physicality; that’s our philosophy.”

Ajax meet rival PSV Eindhoven on Sunday, with Alvarez set to go up against Mexico teammate Erick Gutierrez, should he recover from injury in time.



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