It's hard to see how Matt Miazga will avoid a start in Vitesse's Eredivisie clash with Ajax on Sunday, February 19. The 21-year-old has appeared in every game for Vitesse since the Dutch top flight returned from its winter break, and he subbed in a little earlier than has been usual to the team's last outing - the 2-0 loss to Willem II on February 11. Miazga joined that game because starting center back Maikel van der Werff suffered an injury. It is now reported that van der Werff will miss "several weeks" with a knee sprain.
Injury to the same knee forced van der Werff off the field earlier this season, and Miazga was the first player selected to fill the gap left in the starting lineup. But his run of starts coincided with some poor results for the team and the more experienced Arnold Kruisjwijk stepped in to the center of defense while Miazga spent long sting watching from the bench.
Since the winter break, however, Miazga has been a regular part of the Vitesse match-day plan, usually appearing as a late substitute. If head coach Henk Fraser had hoped to bring his young Chelsea loanee along gently during the second half of the season, it might no longer be possible to limit Miazga's minutes. Kruiswijk is currently also injured, and starting right back Kelvin Leerdam will be suspended for the Ajax game.
For one match at least, it looks as though Fraser will have to figure out a back line without the services of three of his preferred starting four defenders: van der Werff, Kruiswijk (who has been preferred at left back for much of the season), and Leerdam. Of the back-ups and new arrivals the coach will have to consider, Miazga has had the most first-team experience for Vitesse so far this season. It looks very likely that the former New York Red Bulls defender will get at least one more chance to test himself as an Eredivisie starter.