Jorrel Hato: the modern Ajax defender set for the elite
The definitive SCOUTED50 profile.
SCOUTED50 is our collection of the fifty young talents we believe are best positioned to break into the mainstream during 2023/24. Throughout the season, we’ll be detailing all fifty in definitive profiles.
The full list can be read here. Next under the microscope is Ajax’s Jorrel Hato.
This profile was produced as part of a commercial collaboration with SkillCorner, SCOUTED’s official data partner. SkillCorner’s tracking and performance data is used by more than 150 of the world’s biggest clubs, leagues and confederations. Learn more.
All stats correct as of 06/02/2024 unless otherwise noted.
AFC Ajax, by nature, are comfortable operating in transition. Their squad is overhauled almost every summer with major departures, smart additions and a fresh intake of academy products who later develop and help in repeating the cycle.
But how much transition is too much transition? De Amsterdammers have consistently proven their ability to navigate busy transfer windows and still challenge for honours, although that approach is beginning to wear on fans after two turbulent seasons and more recently, their worst start to a domestic season since 1965 - in which they found themselves in the relegation zone after seven matches.
You can certainly fault their recruitment and how things have been managed at boardroom level, but Ajax are still Ajax, which means a teenage prospect ready to come in and exceed expectations is never far away. With that in mind, let us introduce you to Jorrel Hato.
Hato has enjoyed a breakthrough season for Ajax who quickly found themselves short in central defence with Jurriën Timber and Calvin Bassey both leaving the club last summer. But the 17-year-old has not only settled into senior football but excelled, to a point where he has made more appearances and played more minutes than any other teammate.
Mostly deployed at left centre back - although he is equally capable at left back - the teenager boasts a stocky, yet athletic build which draws similarities to Manchester City defender Nathan Aké. That comfort in either position makes him a tactical unicorn for head coach John van’t Schip who likes to push his left back forward when attacking, and feels comfortable doing so in the knowledge that Hato will be covering.
His De Toekomst education also ensures calmness in possession, but combined with a refreshing tenacity and front-footedness, you find everything desirable in a modern defender which makes his growing importance to the side more obvious.