At the age of 19, James Efmorfidis has completed his move to – his fifth professional club – AZ Alkmaar. He has put pen to paper on a one-year contract at the Dutch club with the option to sign another two-year contract after the coming season writes Jeroen Adriaanse.
In 2011, the film ‘The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring’ hit the cinemas. In it, there is a scene in which Gandalf reads out his letter to Frodo. It says: “Not all those who wander are lost.”
Efmorfidis turned fifteen that year and despite his young age, he had already seen a lot of Europe. In fact, he had lived throughout the continent due to his father’s work and his football skills – Efmorfidis was a promising teenager, who impressed in continental youth tournaments.
Of Greece and Dutch descent, Efmorfidis was born on 18th January 1996. He lived in Greece initially but soon moved to the Netherlands with his family to begin his youth team career at Ajax Amsterdam.
However, his time at Ajax was a brief one because he moved to the youth academy of Spanish giants Real Madrid after just one year. This move was more based on family issues than on his performances on the pitch, as Efmorfidis was labelled as a huge talent at that time.
The young Greek played two years at Real Madrid and then decided to move to their rivals FC Barcelona, because he and his family were not happy with the academy. So the whole family hit the road, on the move again, and settled themselves in Barcelona. However, after two years at Barca and one at AEK Athens, his father had to return to Amsterdam, so Efmorfidis turned down Barcelona’s contract offer and moved back to Holland.
Luckily for him Ajax were keen on signing him up, so he was able to re-join their youth academy. Back in the Netherlands, he reinvented himself and took full advantage of the opportunity to train with the Under-19 squad.
Efmorfidis can play as a central midfielder as well as an in the advanced role behind the striker, but has been known to have a sort of a free role. His passing and movement are superb and moreover, his mentality and his vision are well advanced for his tender age.
He is an extremely smart player and is capable of finding the right teammate with every pass he makes. He is also a specialist regarding set pieces, especially when it comes down to striking the ball against the back of the net from a direct free-kick.
Unlike many left footers, Efmorfidis is not afraid to use his right foot to cross and finish in the box. Obviously his right foot isn’t as strong as his left, which is something he can work on- but at least he isn’t completely one-footed.
Nevertheless, he will have to step up his game as he is expected to spend this season with the reserve team, so if he fails to convince the board of his qualities, he will most likely has to add another team to his list at the age of 20.
However, due to the fact that he has already wandered through most of Europe and has experienced all kind of setbacks, he will naturally fight for his place at AZ. With his mentality and qualities he should not have any problems to become a key player at the reserves and eventually at AZ’s first-team squad.
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