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Under our Talent Radar banner, we constantly strive to document and highlight the progress of the younger stars of the beautiful game, before they progress into household names. Our latest initiative within the burgeoning Talent Radar section is the introduction of #The10 feature.
This annual feature champions the combination of youth & diversity, as we look to reward 10 of the best young individuals across 10 primary pillars. The fourth category looks at the stand-out young star according to the GSN Index. For details on what GSN is, we’d suggest reading this article.
For all queries regarding this feature, eligibility and selection process, read this piece.
Pione Sisto is a footballer with a diverse cultural heritage. Born in Uganda to Southern Sudanese parents, Sisto is a Danish citizen who has already been capped at the senior level despite being just 20 years old. He was also part of the U21 squad which lost to Sweden in the semifinals.
Sisto is by no means a new name to regular watchers of Danish football having made his debut for Midtjylland back in 2012 at the tender age of 17. The winger started his career at Tjorring IF before making the move and indeed, his name at Midtjylland.
The Danish International’s most noteworthy personal achievement is winning the Player of the Year award in 2014 from the Danish Footballers’ association as he helped Midtjylland to their first ever Superligaen title. Mostly deployed as a right-winger, Sisto is an exciting talent with a bright future ahead if fulfils even a fraction of the potential shown thus far.
The first half of 2015 will live long in the memory of Midtjylland fans as they sealed their first ever Superligaen title. On a personal note though, Sisto didn’t enjoy the best of spells. A groin injury ruled him out for an extended spell after the winter break. The winger did return in style though as he got himself on the scoresheet and set up another goal as Midtjylland beat Copenhagen to pretty much seal the title.
The summer saw Sisto make his first competitive appearance in Danish colours as he was part of the U-21 side that made the journey to the European Championships. The Danish squad possessed plenty of high profile names such as Jannik Vestergaard, Viktor Fischer, and Pierre Hojbjerg but it was Sisto who grabbed the headlines in the opening group stage game against Czech Republic. The winger came off the bench and made an immediate impact as he slotted in the winner to wrap up 3 important points. It wasn’t long before he was called up to the senior team by Morten Olsen and has made 2 appearances thus far.
The 20-year-old made a bright start to this season with a brace against Viborg FF but has seen his form in terms of output come down in recent times. An impressive couple of years in Denmark has seen his stock rise enough to attract the interest of some of Europe’s biggest clubs as it seems a matter of time before he’s on the move to bigger things.
Sisto combines the qualities of pace and skill to make a footballer seriously entertaining to watch. The youngster is often deployed on the wing where he can enjoy more space and provide an outlet to the counter-attack of the side. The winger is also proficient in front of goal which makes him a handful for any opposition defence.
He also possesses a cutting edge to his game that makes him an asset to any side. Always willing to try a dribble and do the unexpected, Sisto is the kind of player who adds variety to the attack. Such an enterprising style of play though can sometimes lead to frustration especially when he’s off his game but traits such as consistency and decision making are often acquired with time and experience. A seemingly endless surprise of energy is yet another asset in the youngster’s armoury.
His nationality often sees him compared to the likes of Michael Laudrup and Christian Eriksen who he does share some traits with. Ultimately though, Sisto will have to forge his own path and make his mark in European football.
Dustin Böttger of GSN told Outside of the Boot this about Sisto:
“From a statistical point of view, Sisto is really outstanding. His football related characteristics are already on top league level and his performance on the pitch for FC Midtjylland is incredible.He is by far the best and most promising player in the Danish Superliga. Currently he is a bit underperforming, but hey, this guy is only 20 years old.Our system ranks him as a future world class player and so the bigger clubs should take a closer look on him.”
A whole host of Premier League clubs including the likes of Arsenal, Everton, West Ham, and Manchester City are reportedly interested in Sisto. Add to the likes of Barcelona and Juventus allegedly looking at the Danish International and it becomes obvious that his days at Midtjylland look numbered.
The first big move in a youngster’s career is often an important milestone and Sisto will be well served in following the footsteps of fellow Dane, Eriksen. Another avenue is of course a move to a big club with perhaps a loan move to another club which will see more regular playing time and the development that often accompanies the same.
Regardless of where he does end up, Sisto has great potential which harnessed in the correct manner could see the blooming of a real star. One thing is for sure, the raw talent is in place and Pione Sisto is a name that we’ll be hearing a lot more of in the next few years.
Here’s what Claus Røndbjerg-Christensen of Danish Footy, told Outside of the Boot about Pione Sisto:
“Pione Sisto is an ‘atypical’ Danish footballer with flair, technique and pace. ‘Atypical’ in a way which really stands out. Coming through the ranks at perhaps the best youth academy in Denmark, where players such as Simon Kjær, Viktor Fischer etc. have emerged. Due to the special upbringing his national call-up to the Danish U21 team was met with celebrations of his family (famous youtube clip of his parents performing local Sudanese custom ceremony circulating on social media), but also from the media and Danish fans alike. His first (non-official) match he netted a hat-trick vs Dinamo Bucharest which only was a teaser of what to come.”
This is how The 10 Young Stars of 2015 feature currently looks, as we reveal each individual, piece by piece. Next up is the Goalkeeper section.
Read about all the players feature in #The10, right here.