Jozy Altidore, Aaron Johansson, Vincent Janssen and Wout Weghorst are just a few of the strikers who have made a name for themselves at AZ Alkmaar. The club have one of the more polished and well-funded youth academies in Holland as they developed their next great striking talent in-house. 18-year-old Myron Boadu has suffered a long-term ACL injury that deprived him of game-time at youth level and an ankle injury that deprived him of being AZ Alkmaar’s starting striker last season. However, his talent is unyielding as he now dons the number 9 for AZ Alkmaar, leading the line as the crème de la crème of AZ’s academy.
A record of 5 goals in 6 games was enough to convince John Van den Brom that Boadu deserved a promotion to the first-team as he skipped playing for Jong AZ. It also convinced Arsenal to declare serious interest in the teenager but before hopping on a flight for London, the 18-year-old felt his future would be better served at AZ. He then signed a contract with his club as only injury has held him back from the first team since. The youngster plays with such a confidence and self-assurance which manifests from his personal life. Zlatan Ibrahimović and Boadu have been treated by the same surgeon as the older Swede asked his young counterpart if he hoped to be as good as him in the future. Boadu replied that he hoped to be better than one of Europe’s most prolific goal scorers.
Boadu started out wide away to Kairat Almaty in a Europa League Qualifier last season as John Van den Brom entrusted Fred Friday as a central striker to replace Wout Weghorst. Boadu began the game by casually controlling the ball, surging to the by-line to beat his man before playing a cut-back to Friday that the Nigerian could not get proper contact on. His encouraging performance did not warrant a start in the second-leg as AZ were 2-0 down but he was eventually brought in during the second-half because AZ lacked attacking conviction. The teenager proved to be much better at holding up the ball than Friday, he managed to progress and sustain attacks before getting on the end of deliveries. Boadu had two headed opportunities on target before he won a penalty for Teun Koopmeiners to dispatch but AZ were already on their way out of the Europa League.
Van den Brom would be forced to show courage and utilise Boadu as AZ’ central attacking force as the youngster rewarded the faith shown in him by his coach with 3 goals and 2 assists to begin the Eredivisie season. The timing of his near post runs was impeccable as he used his strength to hold the ball up while also stretching the defence with runs into the channels and in behind. Unfortunately, a sliding challenge from Eric Botteghin against Feyenoord would warrant another extended spell on the side-lines with injury as this created another hurdle in a fledgling career that was showing so much promise.
A spell on the side-lines allowed him to spend time and train with Calvin Stengs which has created a partnership that could propel AZ to dizzying heights. Meanwhile, AZ failed to find a solution for their issues up front, Van den Brom did not persist with Friday for long while Mats Seuntjens and Bjorn Johnsen proved to be short-term fixes as it seemed AZ were longing for Boadu to return to full fitness. Boadu returned to the AZ squad for the first time in AZ’ away match against Feyenoord during April this year. He came off the bench in the second-half as Seuntjens played a chipped ball before the youngster and Johnsen got in each other’s way. Van den Brom continued to ease him back and allow him to shake off the rust with another substitute appearance against PSV.
During the summer, AZ’s new manager, Arne Slot instantly showed Johnsen and Seuntjens the exit door, clearing the path for a striking competition between two homegrown strikers, Ferdy Druijf and Boadu. The latter won the competition and began the new season under Slot as he started the last season under Van den Brom, in the Europa League Qualifying phase. In the first-leg at home to BK Hacken, the heat prevented the side from truly dominating their opponents. However, in the second-leg away, the AZ centre-backs focused on working and circulating the ball past Hacken’s medium block. They played direct balls into Boadu, who held possession well and worked the ball into teammates in space.
Boadu’s ability to drop deep and receive the ball with his back to the opposition goal, to gracefully and rapidly spin past his marker and work passes added another dimension to an attack that probed at a slow tempo. He once received the ball, held it well and worked a through ball for Guus Til which needed more weight to truly put the midfielder through on goal. He then took on a through ball from Oussama Idrissi and calmly slotted the ball past the keeper for AZ to gain a crucial away goal. In the second-half, he latched onto a loose pass from the opposition and perfectly illustrated his imperious blend of skills, driving past one defender with pace before outmuscling another defender to have a shot saved before taking on the rebound and teeing up Stengs to finish with aplomb and double AZ’s lead. AZ’s lethal front three then linked up again as Stengs won possession deep in his own half before launching a long-ball to Boadu on the counter for the 18-year-old to expertly cross for Idrissi to tap-in.
Boadu followed up his one goal and two assist performance during the week with another stunning performance to open the Eredivisie. He played Idrissi through to finish to assist the Moroccan for the second time in a week. His other partner in crime, Stengs cut in off the flank and slid a well-weighted slide rule pass for Boadu to cleverly finish at the near post. Away to Mariupol, the Ukranian opposition denied AZ early access into Boadu as the teenager had to make due with a header saved from a corner. In the second-leg, he latched onto an Idrissi cross to play a delivery of his own which was deflected into Fredrik Midstjo who worked a shooting opportunity for Thomas Ouwejan who drove his strike at the feet of Stengs for the winger to tee him up to apply a much better finish.
Boadu, emerged with a brace this past weekend against Sparta Rotterdam, using his constantly growing understanding with Stengs to ensure AZ climb the Eredivisie table. Stengs received the ball on the counter as Boadu responded by turning a leisurely jog into a full sprint for a run in behind as he received the ball and applied the finishing touch. His second came as a surprise to teammates, his coaching staff and himself as he rose to head in a Stengs delivery. Despite his work on the training ground, Boadu rarely scores headers.
"That's right, I can't head! That should be better, "Boadu said afterwards guiltily to the Noord Holland Dagsblad.
“No, heading is not really a Myron quality. We recently saw that against Antwerp,” said Slot, referring to headed opportunity that Boadu spurned against Antwerp.
Boadu’s physical strength has always set him apart from his peers and allowed him to expedite his integration into first team football with less youth experience than a lot of youngsters around Europe. However, it is his technical capabilities in coming short to receive the ball and having the positional awareness as well as the fleet of foot and mind that allow him to engineer ways to beat his marker and add direction to AZ attacks. He played five games last season in the Eredivisie and accrued 3 goals and 2 assists while he has played five games this season, matching his tally of goals with one extra assist. He has also played his way into National Team contention after only recently being promoted to Jong Oranje as his rapid rise at club level could extend to Ronald Koeman’s Oranje squad.
"Myron has had bad luck with injuries but is completely back and shows that he is fit," said AZ Technical Director, Max Huiberts. “As an explosive, fast and ballistic striker - capable of creating opportunities himself - he has sufficient qualities to succeed. It is up to him to let it come out. "
AZ have established a lethal front-line with Boadu and Stengs joining Idrissi as they have started spectacularly under Slot. AZ may have to rebuild a section of their stadium as they are squatting at ADO Den Haag’s stadium in the meantime but the progress of their talented hoard of homegrown players has given their fans a reason for excitement. Fitness permitting, Boadu could continue to gain plaudits for goals and assists leading to a National Team callup before he is out of his teens. AZ Alkmaar made the astute decision to extend his contract for two seasons to 2023 in the summer.