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Ciro Immobile of Pescara and Italy Under 21

Ciro Immobile? Ciro Mobile more like it - energetic, sharp and with great work-rate. Picture taken from Seriebnews.com

Ciro Immobile is a Juventus youth product who has blossomed this season playing for the Serie B side Pescara. It’s hard to find a better club for a young attacking player than one managed by a certain Zdenek Zeman as Immobile has enjoyed himself in the ultra-attacking Pescara side and is currently getting hotter with every week.

He has racked up 17 Serie B goals in 22 games and only 2 of them have been penalties. It’s not just his goal count that deserves the attention, but also the way he plays and how he scores.

You would expect Juve to have him in future plans, but some reason (financial?) they recently sold 50% of his contract to Genoa for 4 million euros, a deal that I believe has only two winners in a long run – Immobile himself and Genoa. Genoa is bound to get their investment back by 2-3 times and Immobile can adapt to Serie A football from next season without very big pressure.

Report on Ciro Immobile

Personal Information:

Name: Ciro Immobile
Date of Birth: 20.02.1990 (age 21)
Nationality: Italian
Height: 184 cm
Current Club: Pescara (on loan, co-owned by Juventus and Genoa, contract length unknown)
National Team: Played in Italian U20 and U21 teams

Playing Information:

Position: Striker / Forward
Preferred Foot: Right

Statistics For Last 3 Seasons:

2011/2012: Pescara – 22 games, 17 goals, 4 assists, 4 yellow cards, 1738 minutes played
2010/2011: Siena / Grosseto – 22 games, 3 goals, 1 red card, 1209 minutes played
2009/2010: Juventus – 4 games, 39 minutes played

Games Watched To Make The Report:

1. Pescara – Hellas Verona 3:1 (Serie B, 16.01.2012)
2. Pescara – Modena 3:1 (Serie B, 27.01.2012)
3. Crotone – Pescara 1:2 (Serie B, 31.01.2012)

Individual Game Descriptions:

1. Pescara – Hellas Verona 3:1

Immobile started as the striker in a 4-3-3 formation and the game was open as usual for Pescara. They dominated and created far more chances.

They ended up winning the game 3:1 and Immobile scored the last two Verona goals. First one was good left foot finish from a low cross and second one he showed great speed to get to a Lorenzo Insigne through ball during a counter attack and finished it off with right foot.

2. Pescara – Modena 3:1

Similar game to the one against Hellas Verona in terms of almost everything. 3:1 win, Immobile plays full 90 minutes as striker and Pescara dominate.

This time he only scored one goal however, a header as he was at the end of a cross from the left.

3. Crotone – Pescara 1:2

Immobile started and played full 90 minutes again, but this game was bit more difficult for Pescara.

The game was quite balanced with Pescara probably creating a bit more, but also leaking a lot in defence.

Immobile finished with another goal as he had to bounce to put in a ball that had dropped in the area. Also hit the bar with a long-range right-footed shot.

Young Immobile training with Juventus. Picture taken from: juventus1897fc.blogspot.com

Analysis of Immobile:

When I started watching Pescara, I had seen them and Immobile play once, against Torino in a game which ended with Torino’s 4:2 win. Immobile scored twice in that game and I was sort of expecting to see more of a poacher in him than an all-around striker when watching him with intent of writing a report. And to be very honest, I was more interested in his Napoli-owned team-mate Lorenzo Insigne.

However with Immobile I got surprise after surprise and he left a bigger impression on me with every game, enough for me to be bit puzzled at how Juventus view him when seeing them give 50% of his ownership away.

Almost complete striker

If I’d say he reminded me of anyone, there is a bit of Diego Milito about him. He showed great versatility and great work ethic. And he is almost the complete opposite of what his surname means in English…

As you could read from the individual game descriptions, he showed to be a very multi-functional striker. He scored with either feet, showed to have ability in air, strength and good speed as well as a decent long-range shot.

His finishing has come a long way under Zeman and most of his shots either are on target or only slightly wide.

His goals and chances seem to have no connection to luck and are all down to the work rate he has. He tries very hard to get into good positions, fighting for his space in the box and moving, turning sharply. In Serie B he is too good for defenders to handle.

Although his primary job is to score goals and create havoc in the penalty area, he also deserves praise for his all-around play. He does very well to link-up with everyone around him, he is very involved in the game, often coming deep to offer one-two passes to midfielders. He is also not afraid to move away from central position when necessary.

Shortcomings could show in Serie A

However one has to take into account that he is doing all this in Serie B and certain things might not be so easy against better defenders of Serie A.

It’s hardly important, but his dribbling ability is not great. He does have one or two successful dribbles in a game, but most of the times when he tries, he fails and loses the ball. His dribbling looks more like forcing his way through a player or two rather than elegantly leaving them for dead.

But as I say, it is not important for him. As long as he can beat defenders for pace for the through balls, win the duels in air, link-up with midfield and finish with precision, he is fine.

It’s his passing passing that could draw criticism in Serie A level. He’ll have to improve in that area of the game as he makes too many bad passes and most of the successful one’s are very simple and would be very hard to mess up. He should be quicker when passing, more precise and maybe learn to do to do more difficult passes which require vision.

Technical part is probably the only part which comes between him and the better strikers of Serie A – his passing, first touch, dribbling is not too impressive. But with his finishing ability I’d still fancy him being capable of scoring around 15 Serie A goals in a full season at his current level.

Would also like to add about his physical attributes that his speed is good enough to beat most defenders, but a level below players like Samuel Eto’o, Alexis Sanchez or Alexandre Pato.

What level do I think he is:

As I mentioned, I think he is capable of playing in Serie A level and scoring 15 goals a season. He could easily start for one of the stronger Serie A mid-table teams, much like Genoa who bought half of his contract.

He is probably the best young Italian striker at the moment behind a certain Mario Balotelli and ahead of the likes of Fabio Borini and Mattia Destro.

What level do I think he could reach:

There is potentnial in him to be a 30 goal per season player. I think he could and will probably end up in a big team of Italy within 2 or 3 years (probably back to Juventus).

He is bit different from the other young strikers of Italy, far more versatile. Once he improves at his technical side and gains the experience against better defenders, Italy could finally have a young goalscorer who could be considered amongst the best in the world at that role, something which they have been lacking for a long-long time.

If I had to pay 10 million euros rating: N/A

I was close to putting in a 6/10 for it, but decided to give him a talent rating instead as he hasn’t really played at the higher level. I would say he is worth around 10 mil right now, as shown by Genoa paying 4 million for half of his contract.

Talent rating: 9/10

One of the better young strikers I’ve seen in last years, a bit of a refreshment too as most of the shine-out young players seem to be dribblers and small wide forwards lately. There are rough edges he needs to remove from his game, but from what I see on the pitch, he has his head screwed on right and he’ll work hard to improve.

 
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Posted by on February 2, 2012 in Big Reports

 

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Pick 10 defenders for me to follow

ANNOUNCEMENT: I’ve extended the voting until Monday 9 PM for now. To get more votes, and I can’t get started anyway just yet. Lot of new options added too.

Usually it is easy to see who the big attacking talents are, but it is much more difficult to assess defenders because you simply don’t notice a lot of them and an average fan wouldn’t watch a team play just for a defender. Yet the question which of the young/relatively unknown defenders is actually good enough for a top team is one that bugs me and possibly a lot of others too.

However this is exactly what I am going to do as I hope to cover at least 10 defenders with 2 months with a big scouting report. Who do I cover? This is for you to pick. I have given you a pre-set poll with some options, but to nominate your own player for voting, let me know in Twitter by sending me a tweet (possible blueprint: @TanelT “player name”,”club” #FootballsNewTalent ) or make a comment here. After all I’m bound to forget a lot of players. I will add them at first opportunity.

Whether you want to get a second opinion on the player of your favorite team/national team or want to know more about the target of your club… I’ll try to provide you this knowledge.

I will try to be covering the top 10 defenders who received most votes, IF I can see them play (either live or obtaining their games). If I decide to go above 10, then the extra players will be those who interest me most personally.

Before you nominate Thiago Silva’s, Vincent Kompany’s or Gerard Pique’s, I will reject such nominations. I am not looking for world-class players. They should be relatively young, but if someone is very good/interesting but aged around 25 and relatively unknown then I will still accept him. And some top club players like Phil Jones or the recent arrival Juan in Inter can also be voted for, just no-one very old or already amongst the best in the position.

I will only add players I believe to be suitable for report to the poll.

I have separated full-back and centre-back voting.

 
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Posted by on January 31, 2012 in News Articles

 

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Douglas of Corinthians (One Game)

Douglas fighting for the ball. Picture taken from Fifa.com

As promised, although with a bit of delay, I have done a report on one of the players I had picked based on the semi-finals of the Sao Paulo region youth tournament. I made my choice between these Fluminese and these Corinthians players.

In the end I chose to follow Douglas who looked as if he could could become a sort of Adriano (in his better days ofcourse).

The powerful striker turned 18 a few months ago and arrived in Corinthians last year from Guarani.

One Game Report on Douglas

Personal Information:

Name: Douglas Willian da Silva Souza
Date of Birth: 27.10.1993 (age 18)
Nationality: Brazilian
Height: 187 cm
Current Club: Corinthians (contracted until sometime in 2014, not sure of the exact end date)

Basic Playing Information:

Position: Striker
Preferred foot: Left

Game Watched To Make The Report:

Corinthians (U18) – Fluminense (U18) 2:1 (Copinha, 25.01.2012)

Note: The semi-final game against Atletico Paranaenses also taken into account.

Game Description:

Douglas started as a striker in the 4-2-2-2 formation. He had a relatively quiet game, having few shots with little luck in the 90 minute display.

The game itself was deservedly won by Corinthians who initially fell behind. They ended up coming back with two set piece goals from their captain and central defender Antonio Carlos.

Douglas celebrating. Picture taken from Meutimao.com.br

Performance of Douglas:

Douglas’s game was quite a disappointment for me after he had played well in the semi-final where his power and speed caused a lot of problem and his finishing was brilliant.

A yawn he made before the start of the game was pretty symbolic of his display because he looked very lazy and never got into the pace of the game, making me ask the question if his previous good was really just down to poor defenders.

He made three shots… well, two actually as he completely miscued one shot in the box which was his best chance for scoring.

Lacked striker’s intelligence

It did not surprise me at all that he did not get into good shooting positions because from the moment the game started, I noticed he really struggled. Maybe it was big game nerves for young man, but he didn’t show much intelligence or determination. The later being a big problem because not only did he fail to get into good positions, he also struggled to link up with the rest of the team.

The most annoying thing was that he never wanted to attack the near post. There were 4-5 times when he should’ve gone to try and get something at the near post, but he always ended up moving to the area around the penalty spot where his striking partner was already waiting.

Therefore it was easy for Fluminense’s defence to stop Corinthians from getting good chances from crosses. Had he attacked the near post and gotten ahead of the defender, then he might’ve gotten a shot or two as well as definitely stretching out Fluminense’s defence in the penalty area. Instead he got players piled up into one small area. Near post crosses are also far more easier to execute for the wide players and far more difficult to handle for defenders.

Showed good physical ability at times

There were few occasions where he showed the good side of his game, the physicality. In that sense, he reminds of some of Brazil’s past or current powerful strikers like Adriano and Hulk.

He doesn’t show it much, but he has got good speed on him as well as strength and the moments when he has the determination to get the ball, he causes probles. In this game he forced opponents into making a mistake on three occasions. Defenders either gave the ball away or put it out of play when he challenged them.

To finish off the assessment, a short mention of his technical side. He didn’t show much there. Against Atletico he scored with two good finishes with either foot, but in this game he lacked a first touch and he didn’t seem to feel comfortable with the ball.

What level do I think he is:

He is currently a youth player, with decent potential, but another year or two at this level awaits him. On the basis of the two games I saw, he is not a bad youth player, but neither amongst the better youngsters. Lot of simple flaws. Technically and mentally not quite ready for big football.

What level could he reach:

I think that at this moment he is bit too far from becoming a really good player, but I’m sure he can become a striker who plays at a decent level. Top teams of the average European leagues or Brazilian Serie A, why not?

It must be noted that he looks like a player who wants to have fun playing football, to score goals. He does not look like someone who is going to give his absolute everything to achieve some big goal. If he had better technique, his laziness could be excused and he could maybe reach European top league or big club of Brazil level, but I doubt he’ll get that far.

If I had to pay 10 million euros rating: N/A

Wouldn’t pay much for him based on those games, maybe 100-200 thousand euros would be worth a risk now.

Talent Rating: 5/10

His physical ability gives him a good base, but determination/work-rate needs to grow fast for this strong striker to reach places. And probably not just on the pitch but also in the training ground as he does look as if he is few bigger steaks away from becoming overweight.

Notes on other players: I also kept half an eye on some other players. Marcos Junior, who I liked from Fluminense in semi-final, was again very lively. In first half the Corinthians’ defenders couldn’t handle him, but luckily for them, his finishing was poor. Like in the semi, he got very tired as the game went on, but he did manage to create Fluminense’s goal by turning one defender inside out. He seems to have more potential than Douglas, looks very weak however as well as an average finisher, but I can imagine Fluminense will give him a chance in senior team sometime this season. Worth keeping an eye on.

The Corinthians captain Antonio Carlos who scored two goals I sort of liked last game too, but I thought him and his parter were both average at defending. Both lacked speed and Carlos wasn’t very good at reading the game either.

 
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Posted by on January 28, 2012 in One Game Reports

 

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Daniel Bessa of Inter (One Game)

Daniel Bessa scoring a penalty in a game against Tottenham in NextGen Series. It was consolation for Inter and Bessa who were trounced 1:7 in their first ever NextGen game, but they came back strong after it, now waiting for the semi-finals of the competition. Picture taken from: nextgenseries.com

Inter’s youth academy and scouting system has begun to produce and find a decent amount of talent in last years. Amongst the current bunch who are one step away from big football, one player seems to be head and shoulders above his team-mates. Not literally as he is just above 170 centimeters, but in terms of ability. His name is Daniel Bessa.

He was born in Sao Paulo but with Italian heritage. Inter noticed him when he was playing for Atletico Paranaense’s youth team and brought him to Italy in 2008 (if you can speak Italian, read more about the interesting story of his arrival here). He turned 19 this month but he has only broken onto the scene this season. He first gained wider recognition when he shined in few of Inter’s early friendlies, but he was eventually sent back to the Primavera side.

He has been the star of the show there, especially in the NextGen series where Inter reached semi-finals on Wednesday night, but despite that, he hasn’t gotten another chance to show himself with the first team and probably will not get one before the summer.

As Inter fan I had only seen him on limited occasions (one other full game before this game, some personal highlight videos and longer highlights of NextGen games), but when I have seen him, he has always looked as if he could and probably should play at better level than youth football. I thought it would be injustice to this talent if Inter brings in 1 or 2 new attacking names for first team without even trying him out. Even more so considering that Mauro Zarate is not offering anything to the team anyway.

However the game against Sporting in NextGen was a chance to check him out against a good opponent because Sporting had probably been hailed as the favorites of the tournament after the group stage alongside Barcelona.

One Game Report on Daniel Bessa

Personal Information (Transfermarkt.co.uk):

Name: Daniel Bessa
Date of Birth: 14.01.1993 (age 19)
Nationality: Italian & Brazilian
Height: 173 cm
Current Club: Internazionale

Basic Playing Information:

Position: Attacking midfielder
Preferred Foot: Right

Statistics of Last 2 Seasons (according to Transfermarkt.co.uk):

2011/2012: Inter (U19) – 12 games, 5 goals, 2 yellow cards, 1 red card, 870 minutes played
2010/2011: Inter (U19)  – 18 games, 1 goal, 3 yellow cards, 948 minutes played

Note: Not in this statistic are the NextGen Series games where Bessa has scored 3 goals and Primavera Cup.

Game Watched To Make The Report:

Sporting Lisbon (U19) – Internazionale (U19) 0:1 (NextGen Series, 25.01.2012)

Note: The game is available on Inter’s YouTube channel.

Daniel Bessa has been part of Italy's under 18 squad. Picture taken from: brasileirosdabase.blogspot.com

Game Description:

Bessa started as a trequartista in a 4-4-1-1 formation, behind striker Samuele Longo with a relatively free role drifting from one wing to the other. He played 72 minutes.

The game was even and dull in the first half, but in the second half, after Inter scored the goal, it was dominated by Sporting who were trying desperately to break down Inter’s defence.

Bessa played a part in the game’s only goal, taking the corner which was headed in by Ibrahima Mbaye.

Performance of Bessa:

Bessa is one of those players who you only need to look at to understand that this is could be a very gifted player. You would even guess his position would be a second striker or an attacking midfielder. He has the perfect build – short so he has a low centre of balance and also strong, which means he won’t be pushed aside when in possession of the ball or fighting for it.

For all his talent, there are still rough edges, few signs of inexperience and the usual issue of not really knowing how a player will react once he’s thrown into the deep, playing for one of world’s biggest club.

Physically matches expectations

As I wrote about his body-build, I thought he had the perfect build for an attacking player and he proved this in the game too.

To start off, he did seem to have pace and acceleration as well as a quick turn. Although it is not really part of his game to take on defenders for pace, he did not look second best to anyone when having to sprint. The few times he did use his explosion, it caused problems for Sporting’s defence.

He had strength and a good center of balance too, riding a few challenges, always able to protect the ball from defenders who were trying to force him from behind into making a mistake or showing too much of the ball.

If there is criticism then he, quite typically for young talented players, was not able to play very intensely. He was much more active at the start of the game and seemed to have a few lazy periods once tiredness kicked in.

Strong preference of the right foot

Technically speaking, the player showed to have very good skills. His first touch was quality and with the ball on his feet, especially first couple of touches, he was unpredictable, even doing one short pass by using the rabona.

His passing was good but somewhat hindered by the fact that he did not seem to have a very good understanding with Longo despite those two playing together for some time now. He did not showcase his long-range passing in open play, but at least his corners were dangerous, one of them creating the only goal.

But there are some technical difficulties – he does not use his left foot very much. In one situation it really showed as he tried to dribble centrally, but since he tried to cut inside from right using his right foot, he left the ball exposed for the defenders between him and the goal. As result he ended up losing it.

I’d expect more dribbling from him because at the moment, he either leaves the opponent dead with the first touch or he looks for a safe passing option (in fairness to him, his team-mates don’t offer a chance for good forward pass very often). I think he has it in him to actually take the ball past someone and he has shown this by dribbling 3-4 players in a NextGen game against PSV earlier this season.

He also managed to put his only shot of the night over the bar, but that was a difficult volley that would’ve been worth seeing if it had actually gone in. He received a throw in, burst free of any possible marker and smacked a looping shot straight from the air but unfortunately it flew over the bar by a meter or two.

Daniele Bessa with former Inter player Adriano who left the club shortly after Daniele arrived. Picture taken from: brasileirosdabase.blogspot.com

Seems to have character

To move to Italy at a young age and to make an impact is not easy. Even more difficult would be to become an important player for a team like Inter. But a strong character helps… and at least on the football pitch Bessa seems to have it. He is confident of his own ability and he is not afraid to command and criticise his team-mates if it is necessary

Still, at times he can do with a little self-criticism too, as even at his current technical or physical limits he is probably not pushing himself to the limit at times. His position requires a lot of involvement in the game, but Bessa, as mentioned before, could be a tad too static in some periods.

His reading of the game and decisions with the ball are still not ideal either, but I’d say motivating himself to move bit more and improving his left foot should be priorities number one for him in this next half a season if he wants to give Claudio Ranieri no other choice but to make him a first team member.

What level do I think he is:

I think Bessa is indeed a player who is possibly amongst the best players in the youth level in Italy, definitely being the best in this Inter squad.

In this period where Inter might actually need extra legs in attack with constant injuries to the likes of Wesley Sneijder and Diego Forlan and underperforming Zarate, I would like to see Ranieri give him a go rather than playing someone like Joel Obi whose playing level cries out for a loan move.

My gut feeling is and has been that once he can show himself for more than 10 minutes with the first team of Inter in a competitive match, he won’t be back with the youth squad. But it is not a disaster to be in Primavera squad either, it gives him more time to fix the flaws and with the Viareggio tournament and final game or two of the NextGen coming up, he will play similar age opponents who are on a good level.

For now, he is largely a player who is often only seriously involved in the game for few moments in the game, but when he is involved, something good comes out of it.

What level do I think he can reach:

If he can become more involved in what is going around on the pitch and if he learns to use left foot when dribbling, then he has all the tools available to even become Italy’s player of the generation even, assuming he does pick to play for Italy as he has already been part of an Italy’s under 18 training camp last November.

However for now, only way to judge him are the youth games and some friendlies against lower league sides with Inter. There he has always been top-notch, even if team-mates make it difficult for him to look good.

Inter might also try to see how he could play in wider areas in a possible 4-3-3 or 4-2-3-1 formation as there are already two young attacking midfielders in the squad, one of whom, Riccardo Alvarez, would probably always feel uncomfortable out wide.

If I had to pay 10 million euros rating: N/A

I’d say his realistic price at this moment, considering the level he has played at, the talent he possesses and the risks, would be around 3 million euro mark, but whether Inter would sell for that? I highly doubt.

Talent rating: 9/10

I might be biased, but every time I see him, be it in a full game or in highlights of Inter Primavera games, he just seems like he is so much more talented than everyone else. Natural Brazilian technique, paired with a perfect physique and strong Italian influence – unless something bad happens, it seems to be written in the stars.

 
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Posted by on January 27, 2012 in One Game Reports

 

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Video compilation of Joe Allen against Arsenal

I will occasionally do a compilation clip of the players I’ve scouted. My very first try being a video of Joe Allen in the game against Arsenal. Enjoy! And afterwards, if you’re yet to see, read a big Joe Allen report here.

If the video should be taken down, then view a lower quality version here, special link for DailyMotion is here.

 
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Posted by on January 26, 2012 in Video Compilation

 

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Lucas Ocampos of River Plate and Argentina Under 17-s (One Game)

Lucas Ocampos has become a starting eleven player for River Plate over the last 6 months.

After Erik Lamela left River Plate did not have to wait long for a new teenager to hype up. The new big talent of River Plate is the winger Lucas Ocampos, just 17 years old.

For Ocampos the stage was well set for him to make his big start, Lamela had left and River Plate was playing in the second division of Argentine football, therefore he had no big pressure on his shoulders when it came to performing on the pitch as there were others who should’ve already been more than good enough for the second division level.

However, while River Plate has put around 15 million euro price-tag on his head and European big teams are looking on with interest, the question must be asked: how good is he really? The Argentine first division itself already has very slow tempo football compared to European leagues where Ocampos might be heading, I can imagine the second division to be even slower so one must take his statistics with a pinch of salt.

Torneo de Verano was a good chance to see him in action against a first division club as River Plate met Racing last week. It migth’ve been the debut of David Trezeguet, but my attention was turned to Ocampos.

Note: Again, when reading, you have to take into account that this report is based on one game, and a friendly-esque (making up words here) game at that, so the picture it provides might and probably isn’t the whole truth.

One Game Report on Lucas Ocampos

Personal Information:

Name: Lucas Ariel Ocampos
Date of Birth: 11.07.1994 (age 17)
Nationality: Argentine
Height: 187 cm
Current Club: River Plate (according to media reports contracted until 2014)
National Team: capped for U17 national team

Basic Playing Information:

Position: Left winger
Preferred Foot: Right

Basic Career Statistics (according to Wikipedia.org):

River Plate – 18 games, 4 goals, 5 assists
Argentina U17 – 8 games, 3 goals

Game Watched To Make The Report:

River Plate – Racing 2:0 (Torneo de Verano, 20.01.2012)

Game Description:

Lucas Ocampos played as the left-sided midfielder in a 4-3-1-2 formation. River Plate was the better side in this sort of half-serious, half-friendly game. For River Plate it was a great chance to prove themselves against top division team and the game was played out in a very serious manner.

They made loads of chances and were solid in defence, winning 2:0 in the end. Ocampos wasn’t involved in either of River’s goals. First one being a one on one chance scored and the other coming from Trezeguet after Ocampos had come off the pitch injured in the 61st minute.

Lucas Ocampos has represtented the Argentine under 17's squad.

Performance of Ocampos:

It was a more of friendly game and in a tournament that takes place after a bit of break for clubs so rusty and slack movements/touches were expected and accepted to some extent.

However, I would’ve thought in this environment a young, talented and quick attacking player would have a field day. It was not the case for Ocampos who looked to blow hot and cold.

Not lighting fast

When you think of a young attacking talent, the first thing you imagine is that he must be a quick and a good dribbler. To an extent this is true with Ocampos too, but when it comes to speed, he seemed to have less acceleration than some of the previous/current South American “wonderkids” like Alexandre Pato when he was 18 or even the former River player of Lamela.

He has good pace, but it’s not really enough at this moment to cause decent defenders many problems and it is not helped by the fact that he is not aggressive and experienced enough when challenging for the ball in shoulder to shoulder situations. He lost almost every duel he had when the ball was even slightly out of his control.

His tallness and promisingly strong-looking bodybuild make it possible that he could grow to have similar playing style to Cristiano Ronaldo, minus the step-overs and incredibly quick sprints.

He did manage to make good use of his tallness, winning a couple of headers he went for, even if he did simply put his head against the ball rather than directing the ball towards a preferred area of the pitch.

Inexperience shows

Biggest faults in his games were caused by laziness and inexperience. Where he really showed his age was in the tactical department. The amount of times his tactical discipline and understanding of the game frustrated me was big.

It was his movement in the attacking phase that I did not like. He showed little to no eagerness to get on the ball, to offer his team-mates an option to pass the ball to. He often dragged his wing inside when the ball was barely over the half-way line on the other flank, therefore significantly narrowing the space his team could play in. He couldn’t even make such a basic thing as coming deep to collect a pass from full-back, instead expecting the later to pull a miracle and pass the ball over a defender between Ocampos and the ball.

He struggled to respond to opponent movement in both defensive and attacking phase and as the game went on, he became less and less active.

To add bit of praise into this criticism, he does try to keep his eyes open for opponents moving. At least this is what I noticed at the start of the game when he checked his opponents constantly when defending, making sure he wouldn’t miss anything. And to be fair to him, his defensive contribution was reasonable for a winger, making lot of challenges and winning the ball on few occasions.

On another positive note, I did like when he did cut inside on one occasion during a more counter-attacking situation where a ball came into the box from opposite flank and found Ocampos free about 10 yards from goal. Sadly his right foot finish was quite average and went straight at the goalkeeper.

Going too far when exhibiting his skills

He showed to have good technical skills, but on more than one occasion he went overboard with it. He lost the ball many times by trying a trick too many, often failing completely.

He even tried to flick the ball up high in the middle of the pitch which is great when he can pull it off, but in a tight situation with lot of players involved, getting the ball back is more down to luck than skill in the end. He did somehow get the ball back, but he made the simpler thing a lot harder in my opinion.

His first touch, especially killing the ball in air, was very good, but that is all bit useless when you cannot offer an end product – be it a pass which creates a lot of space or a successful shot. In his case, the decisiveness and real vision is not there yet.

What level is he now:

I think a 15 million euro price-tag on him seems like a stretch too far but it is understandable on River Plate’s part to hype him up a bit and ask a big price in today’s market where every big club is more desperate than ever to spend big bucks on young players, all in hope of finding the new Leo Messi or Cristiano Ronaldo before someone else does.

He should look to stay in Argentina for longer and clubs interested should also wait to see how he does in the Primera should River get back up. And if River don’t get back up, they might be forced to give him away for a cheaper, more reasonable and risk-worthy price.

For now he looked like a decent player for the level he was playing in. Far from the star of the show which he should be in a league like Argentina to warrant the price-tag he has.

What level might he reach:

I do not see a world-beater in him as he looked lazy on that pitch. He might develop enough physically to become difficult opponent for the Argentine defenders, but to make big things in Europe, he’d need to improve a lot more in that physical department, something that is not very easily attainable.

If I was his manager, I would actually try to convert him into a central midfielder because he showed good tackling skills. He has potential to be a very strong player who can break, dictate and create. But now when he has already gotten his big price-tag as a winger, this is not going to happen.

It is actually really hard to predict if he would become an expensive mistake for which-ever big team would buy him or a good Argentina starting eleven player. But the thing I’m more convinced of is that he won’t be the one fighting out for best player awards and raw talents like him could be found for better price.

If I had to pay 10 million euros: N/A

I definitely wouldn’t pay 10 million euros for him now, maybe 5 million would be a reasonable price-tag for him.

Talent rating: 7/10 (I’d say 8/10 if there was a bigger chance of him being converted into a central or even attacking midfielder in young age)

 
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Posted by on January 26, 2012 in One Game Reports

 

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Into The Unknown: Fluminense (U18) vs Coritiba (U18)

Marcos Junior was amazing in first half with two goals, but made a lot of mistakes in the second. Picture taken from: fluminense.com.br

So, to round-up the Copa Sao Paulo Futebol de Junior tournament semi-finals, I found myself watching the game between Fluminense’s youngsters, who’ve flown through the tournament and Coritiba, who had kicked out Internacional in the quarters.

It was Fluminense who continued their great run with a big win as they beat the Coritiba side with an impressive score-line of 4:0. Two goals on either side of the break.

The game offered few interesting players, but those who were most interesting seemed to struggle in second half with overconfidence and tiredness.

Anyway, here are the players I liked… at least a bit. I’m sorry that I don’t even know their age because Fluminense website doesn’t have any information on the youth teams other than an occasional news story.

Eduardo

He played as an attacking midfielder. He wasn’t too involved in the game, but when he was, he showed a fair bit of quality.

Decent player with good vision & passing, but at times he also struggled with simple things and made some bad decisions. At least 2-3 times he lost the ball trying an impossible dribble against a wall of players.

A lot of improvement needed before he even thinks about the big level, but he’s got some materials to become a good player, at least on local level.

Fabinho

He was one of the two that looked very impressive in first half but in second half he faded off.

Fabinho played as right-back and rampaged up and down the pitch in the first half with great speed and great technique, almost finding the net too.

However he spent more time in opponent half of the pitch than his own in the first half and this running left him tired. The tall and skinny right-back also made more than a few bad mistakes in defensive phase but then again he showed on several occasions that he can win and make tackles too.

Leo Lelis

He is Fluminense’s centre-back. I should say that his performance was full of schoolboy mistakes – lot of bad decisions mostly, with passing, with deciding what to do with the ball etc.

However, he seemed to have the raw materials. If he is to become a good defender he obviously needs to get a coach who can improve the mental side of his game. He is quick, tall, strong.

Marcos Junior

He is the star man of that Fluminense side, playing as a striker. He finished as the top scorer of the 2011 Brazilian U20 Championship.

In this game he scored two goals in the first half, both calm and good finishes with first right and then left foot.

He has great acceleration, pace and very fast turn, but he is a bit weak for now, couldn’t win a header and lost a lot of balls in second half with tiredness and selfishness playing their effects. He had two occasions when he could’ve passed the ball to well positioned team-mate in attacking position, but he tried to dribble and failed. He was brilliant in first half, but in second quite bad.

From what I could find, he is 18 years old. Not sure when will he get his first chance in senior team, I could see Fluminense using him at some point of 2012 as substitute. He definitely has the talent to perform, now he’ll have to become stronger and smarter.

I’ve not yet decided if I’ll do the One Game Report on him or Corinthians’ striker Douglas. Will probably take notes on both and see who performs more promisingly.

 
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Posted by on January 24, 2012 in Into The Unknown

 

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