Who is Jorrel Hato?
Originally born in Rotterdam, Jorrel Hato left his boyhood club – Sparta Rotterdam – to join Dutch giants AFC Ajax in 2018 (as an 11-year-old) and hasn’t looked back since.
He was a key figure throughout youth level at De Toekomst and stood out for his physical and technical qualities, as well as his positional versatility which earned him greater involvement at first team level.
In his first full senior campaign (2023/24), the teenager has made more appearances and played more minutes than any other teammate despite the club enduring their worst start to a season since 1965.
There is also innate leadership to his game – demonstrated by the fact he became Ajax’s youngest ever captain in November, aged 17y 250d – which has only fed expectations of his inclusion for the Netherlands at EURO 2024 this summer.
Jorrel Hato's style of play
Primarily deployed as the left centre back – although he is equally comfortable at left back – Hato boasts a stocky, yet athletic build which draws similarities to Manchester City defender Nathan Aké.
He looks and feels like a modern defender who, while at centre back, is the clear aggressor alongside defensive partner Josip Šutalo with tenacity and persistence to force attackers away from goal. His technique and sense of timing are both strong, with great recovery pace which allows him to fulfil a challenging role as sweeper.
When defending wide areas, he presses the ball quickly and boasts a steady, side-on stance which allows him to spring off the turf and match forwards running inside or towards the byline.
His tackling technique is hard but fair, with a strong sense of timing to win the ball and keep possession in the same action, alongside broad shoulders that can instigate and handle contact when needed.
Naturally, an Ajax academy product will need to be good in possession and the 17-year-old also impresses here – particularly in terms of his shorter distribution – which is especially secure under pressure. His more adventurous distribution, however, will require more care and finesse moving forward.
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Jorrel Hato is an all-action, modern defender with aggressive, defensive tenacity but also technical security to welcome responsibility in possession – and play two different positions.
Jorrel Hato will need to improve his long range passing which can lack accuracy at times, and also curb the instinct to vacate his position to ‘chase the ball’ so regularly.