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John Smith writes a detailed scout report on the Uruguay and Juventus midfielder, Rodrigo Bentancur.
Although the standards of South American football haven’t matched that from the century prior, one of the continent’s best features remains intact regarding its ability to roll out phenomenal young talent. In this century alone, prodigious players including Carlos Tevez, Diego Forlan, and more recently Neymar, have all been able to steal the headlines and make their own respective impact in South America before moving abroad and clinching the headlines in Europe.
As more and more youngsters begin to make a name for themselves, some of football’s best clubs have proceeded to take notice, setting up different scouting networks across the mainland to find the next best talent. Manchester City are just one example who have perfected this, signing prolific forward Gabriel Jesus from Brazilian club Palmeiras for a reported total fee of £33 million.
Born in the small city of Nueva Helvecia, Uruguay, Bentancur aspired to be a professional footballer early on in his life. At the age of thirteen, the youngster was offered a trial by Uruguayan giants Club Atlético Peñarol but subsequently failed. However, thanks to the encouragement of his father, the midfielder made the decision to travel outside of the country to the cosmopolitan, capital city of Argentina, Buenos Aires in the hope of gaining a contract as part of the academy of Boca Juniors.
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Following his trial, Bentancur was far more successful in comparison to his former trial and was soon offered a senior contract by the Argentine club. Joining the youth set-up at the age of thirteen, the youngster proceeded to learn his trade as a footballer and subsequently improved in his position as years passed by. After four promising years building himself up in the ranks of Boca Juniors, the young midfielder earned his initial callup to the first team at the tender age of 17. He made his first team debut in April 2015, coming on as a substitute in the 77th minute.
Since then, the Uruguayan has gone on to improve himself thoroughly in his respective midfield position under managers’ Rodolfo Arruabarrena and Guillermo Barros Schelotto as part of the first team, and has begun to gain the attention of some of Europe’s best clubs.
The versatile midfielder is undoubtedly one of the best prospects coming out of South America right now, and rightly so. Throughout his long tenure at Argentine club Boca Juniors, Bentancur has continued to prove himself along with his ability, thus earning a high profile move to Italian giants Juventus. Albeit having traits that support him offensively, the hard working midfielder seems likely to take up a more deeper role at the club under new manager Massimiliano Allegri.
As noted earlier, one of the key strengths the Uruguayan midfielder currently has would have to be his outstanding versatility. Throughout his tenure at Boca Juniors, the midfielder has performed in both attacking and defensive midfield roles on the pitch and could even be deployed on the right flank, if necessary. This versatility will certainly be a strength for his new club Juventus, considering they already have a variety of different ways to deploy the youngster in order to get the best out of him and benefit the whole team.
As for his age, his current stamina is also a strength. For a midfielder, it is especially important to have a high stamina in order to play out a majority of football matches and also support the team in the process, something the midfielder is known to succeed in as he has played an average of 86 minutes per game for Boca Juniors in the Primeira Division.
With regards to Bentancur’s technical ability, he has typically been praised for both his passing and dribbling ability. When he has the ball, the midfielder is known to play confident short passes rather than attempt to overcomplicate things with a long ball; evident from his 83% passing accuracy. This is one of his key strengths for Xeneizes considering the fact that this style of passing helps to build up play and lead to a strong attack by the Argentinian side.
Furthermore, the midfielder also plays an important role in Boca Juniors’ attack (and leading up to it) through his strong dribbling ability. With the support of his overall fitness, the Uruguayan has the ability to beat off one or two of the opposition’s players whilst running down the pitch and maintaining a lookout for a passing option to support the attack, if necessary. In doing so, he can then play a pass and also ask for a pass in return to beat off multiple players between the lines and help build up the attack.
Albeit having a wide range of strengths to his name, the youngster does have some weaknesses that should be worked on in the near future in order to build himself up as a top midfielder. For example, his overall build and physique could certainly do with an upgrade. Considering his ability in various midfield roles, it would certainly be of benefit if he were to become stronger. Whilst Bentancur does have a good use of shrugging off an opposition’s player, having better strength will definitely be an upgrade since he can use his strength to succeed where he previously would not have. Should this weakness be improved upon, the midfielder could use his strength to his advantage to tackle opposition players, or, hold off a player as he looks to make a pass or dribble.
Moreover, the midfielder’s tackling ability and threat on the pitch could also be improved upon. In his defence, Bentancur has been able to tackle effectively enough throughout his time at Boca Juniors, but this technique is something that could be improved upon even more once he arrives at Juventus to allow him to further flourish in his natural midfield position. Along with this, Bentancur should also look to improve his aerial ability, as it would be important to beat off an opposition’s player and win the ball back for his team should he ever get to a situation where challenging for the ball in the air is necessary.
To extend on this, although not as important as some of the other weaknesses enlisted, the Uruguayan midfielder is also known to foul an opposing player quite often in game; averaging 2 fouls per game for Boca Juniors. Whilst for a midfielder this statistic is not as important, it will be important for Bentancur to work on his tackling ability so he can win the ball more often and concede less fouls for the team.
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