Jairo Riedewald has learned from his fair share of footballing icons - the Johan Cruyff inspired system taught by Dennis Bergkamp at Ajax, and implemented as a teenager against Leo Messi's Barcelona.
In an interview for the Spurs programme, which you can purchase below, the Palace midfielder discusses his Academy upbringing at Ajax, the difference between European and English football, and playing Champions League football at the Camp Nou.
Check out the extract below:
Now in his fifth season at Crystal Palace, Riedewald finds himself as one of the more experienced members of a young squad, a quality which could be of use to Patrick Vieira. “We’ve brought a few players in, so it’s good to see some new faces,” he says.
“There’s not really an initiation thing! They just come into the group, they get to know each other on and off the pitch. Most of the players coming in already know a few players in the team, so they settle in straight away. We’re a warm club and a good team to settle into. We’re really together with each other.”
It’s not just the new signings Riedewald can help; there are plenty of youngsters training with the first-team under Vieira. Making that step up is something he did on the biggest of stages. “I came on in some Champions League games when I was 18,” he remembers. “Being 18 and coming against Barcelona, seeing Messi face to face like that, it’s a big experience.
“It’s something you think about before the game. When you’re travelling, you think ‘oh, am I really travelling with the first-team now?!’ But as soon as you step on the pitch, it’s just football and I focus on the ball. You want to be the best you can be during the game, and you don’t think about [the occasion] because you want to win the game as well.
“But I think after the game, when you text your family and your friends and they say ‘you just played against Messi!’ That’s when you think about it, and think it’s a big, big night. Not just Messi, but Barcelona in that stadium the Camp Nou. For me as a young player especially, it was great – and with the Ajax-Barcelona connection.”
Read the full interview in the matchday programme
This season’s programme is packed full of new content, with an entirely redesigned layout – providing a crisp new look for the season.
Manager, Chairman and captain’s notes
A run-down on the opposition, including Darren Ambrose’s analysis of Spurs' attacking duo Harry Kane and Heung-Min Son
Seven pages dedicated to the Academy, including: player interviews, updates from the managers and staff, and a look back at our proudest graduates – Dan Quick, Paddy McCarthy and John Salako take centre stage in the current edition
Insight into our earliest years in the 1800s
Updates from the Palace Women players, stats for all teams, challenges, your comments and more