AS Roma defender Rick Karsdorp is looking forward to the Europa League duel with Ajax.

The Romans will defend a 2-1 lead in Stadio Olimpico in the return of the quarterfinals on Thursday.

"Of course this match is special for me", Karsdorp told the

ANP

news agency

.

"But it is not Rick against Ajax", says the former Feyenoord player.

"And no Feyenoord against Ajax either. It's just AS Roma against Ajax and we will do everything we can to continue to convert."

The 26-year-old Karsdorp missed the away match of AS Roma in the Johan Cruijff ArenA last week due to a suspension.

He has been included in the match selection again on Thursday and it is expected that Karsdorp will also appear at the kick-off.

"We are in good shape," he says.

"But we are not there yet. Ajax will attack again and want to put us under pressure. We want the same, we are going to see it."

The 26-year-old Karsdorp played on a rental basis for Feyenoord last season.

The 26-year-old Karsdorp played on a rental basis for Feyenoord last season.

Photo: Pro Shots

Karsdorp almost left Roma

It would not have been much if Karsdorp had played for a different club this season.

The right back wanted to become champion with Feyenoord in 2017 so badly that he finished the season with pain.

Then he arrived not quite fit at AS Roma, which paid no less than 17 million euros for him.

Karsdorp still had to undergo surgery on one knee and soon suffered a serious cruciate ligament injury when he thought he was finally fit.

Disillusioned, he returned to Feyenoord on a rental basis last season, where he could hardly convince.

Last summer he faced a departure to Genoa, until trainer Paulo Fonseca emphasized that he wanted to keep him at AS Roma.

Karsdorp did not disappoint his Portuguese trainer and signed a new contract last month that will not expire until mid-2025.

"And I would like to serve that out, I am happy here", he said one day before the home game with Ajax.

Rick Karsdorp is a fixture at AS Roma this season.

Rick Karsdorp is a fixture at AS Roma this season.

Photo: AS Roma

'I focus on AS Roma and not on the European Championship'

Karsdorp has been performing so well at AS Roma in recent months that many people were surprised that he was missing from the preliminary selection of Orange for the first three matches in the World Cup qualification last month.

National coach Frank de Boer preferred Denzel Dumfries and Kenny Tete.

Hans Hateboer, another candidate for the right-back position, was injured.

Karsdorp himself is not busy with a return to Orange "I have played little in the past three years", says the three-time international.

"I want to return to the old level. I still have to take steps for that. I like to play football every game. Also next season. That's what I focus on, not on the European Championship."

AS Roma-Ajax starts on Thursday at 9 p.m.

The match is led by the English Referee Anthony Taylor.