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6:00 AM UTC May 24, 2017
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David Luiz's stunning pool volley

The Toe Poke
By ESPN Staff

De Boer Frank about the future

Ajax manager Frank de Boer insists the Eredivisie giants will rely on their youth system to address the summer exodus of players.

Jan Vertonghen, Vurnon Anita, Theo Janssen and Gregory van der Wiel departed for other clubs during the recent transfer window. De Boer, who is preparing his side to face early Eredivisie leaders FC Twente, views their departure as a chance to blood the next generation of Ajax stars.

"If everyone thought in terms of opportunities instead of problems, that would yield surprising results. I love the challenge of fixing things,'' he said. "We begin training our players from 18 years of age, working hard to introduce players into the first team every two to three years, as was the case with Rafael van der Vaart.

"The stakes are always high for those concerned, but it's just a matter of thinking in opportunities rather than challenges.''

FC Twente's Brazilian-born Dutch defender Douglas expects Steve McClaren's side to challenge for silverware this season.

"We are unbeaten this season playing in the Eredivisie. The team is playing very well and we can play for titles,'' Douglas said.

Second placed Vitesse Arnhem will seek to keep the pressure on FC Twente when they travel to FC Utrecht, who occupy fifth place inn the table. PSV Eindhoven could claim second place if they dispose of VVV Venlo, who are struggling at the other end of the table after failing to win a game.

Manager Dick Advocaat insists confidence is high following last weekend's 3-0 drubbing of Feyenoord. "We thoroughly deserved to beat them. We chased the ball all over the field and fought for every inch,'' Advocaat said.

Willem II Tilburg host PEC Zwolle in a battle between the Eredivisie's two bottom teams. AZ Alkmaar face RKC Waalwijk at home while Roda JC Kerkrade travel to FC Groningen.

Third from bottom Heerenveen host NAC Breda, Feyenoord meet NEC Nijmegen and SC Heracles Almelo collide with ADO Den Haag.


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