Tom Robinson writes a detailed scout report about the Argentina and Banfield attacking midfielder, Agustin Urzi.
With no confirmed date for football to return in Argentina, it’s been hard for most fans to get their fix during lockdown. One player who has been keeping everyone entertained is 20-year-old Banfield winger Agustin Urzi, who has been regularly uploading amazing trick shots into a basketball hoop from his back garden to great acclaim.
Far from merely being a viral sensation, Urzi is one of the most exciting young players in the Argentinian Primera and has been linked to the likes of Inter Milan and Atletico Madrid. An Argentina international at U20 and U23 level, the pacey winger is highly rated by club and country and has a €20 million clause in his contract.
Born and raised in Lomas de Zamora, a city in the south of the Greater Buenos Aires sprawl, Urzi joined local club Banfield at the age of eight. Nicknamed Caniche (Poodle), he was promoted to the Reserves as a 17-year-old and would have debuted for El Taladro sooner had it not been for an injury that sidelined him for several months.
Eventually, in December 2018, boss Julio Falcioni handed Urzi his debut and he scored twice in 10 appearances in his maiden campaign. By the following season Urzi was a regular, playing 18 games and quickly establishing himself as a key player. Meanwhile, Caniche also impressed for the national team, featuring for Argentina at the 2019 U20 World Cup in Poland and then winning a gold medal at the Panamerican Games later that summer.
More success for the Albiceleste would come in the form of triumph at the Pre-Olympic qualification tournament at the beginning of 2020, playing six times and scoring in the final against Honduras to seal a place at the Tokyo Olympic Games.
Compared to Angel di Maria and Ricky Centurion, we look at what makes Urzi one of the must watch players in the Primera Division and why is he so highly coveted by Europe’s elite.
Pace & Acceleration
One of Urzi’s main weapons is his electric burst of speed and frightening turn of pace. Raw and unrefined, there is a frenetic, almost roadrunner style, about the way he tears up and down the left flank and is part of what makes him both so enjoyable to watch and so difficult to defend against.
Typically hugging the left touchline and giving Banfield plenty of width, Urzi’s fleet of foot helps stretch the opposition by either isolating the full back or getting in behind the defence.
Below we see Urzi receive the ball wide on the left, where he pauses, allowing the defender to set himself and think he has an opportunity to steal the ball, before using his blistering acceleration to run into the huge space in behind.
As he races towards the penalty box, his pace carries him away from any challenge and gives him the possibility of firing a low ball across the six yard box or cutting it back to one of his teammates making a run in between the two defensive lines.
In the following example, we see Urzi using his pace to cut inside and exploit the half space. As the opposition right back is caught in two minds as to who to engage, Urzi accelerates from deep to receive the ball more centrally for a run at goal, showing the variation of where his pace can be effective on the pitch.
Skill & Inventiveness
As demonstrated by the aforementioned social media skill videos, Urzi possesses a dazzling array of tricks and the confidence to pull them off. While Urzi averages a good, if not outstanding, 5.74 dribbles per 90, he has the fearlessness and bravado to use his potent mix of pace and skill to take on opponents and, more often than not, beat them.
An extrovert personality and something of a joker off the field, this joie de vivre and irreverence is reflecting by his dribbling style and character on the pitch too, hence the apt comparisons to Velez’s Ricky Centurion. With a penchant for a nutmeg, Urzi loves to entertain the crowd and find creative solutions to break down opposition defences.
Far from being just a speed and skill merchant, Urzi boasts an excellent crossing ability from wide areas. Typically Caniche averages 3.25 crosses per game, which places him within the top 20 in the league last season, and he always delivers the ball with plenty of pace and whip.
Most of Urzi’s best crossing work comes from the left as shown above, but the example below also demonstrates his effectiveness on the right flank too, dropping deep, opening up the angle and sending an inch perfect cross onto the head of his teammate to send a towering header into the net.
While Urzi’s crossing ability is beyond doubt, his general passing accuracy (68%) could be improved and he will look to add more end product in the final third when it comes to assists.
Although Urzi’s goalscoring figures aren’t anything to write home about, he does nevertheless possess a potent shot from range. Indeed, he averages a decent 1.87 shots per 90 and more than half of these attempts come from outside the area.
The best example of his long-distance shooting came in a game against Colombia where he unleashed an unstoppable bullet from 25 plus yards.
Away from the threat he poses in the final third, Urzi bounding energy and enthusiasm means that he is more than happy to track back and fulfil his defensive duties. He typically makes 2.2 tackles per game and is not afraid to go for a slide tackle.
It can be argued that Urzi can be somewhat over enthusiastic in his desire to get stuck in, as displayed by his six yellow cards in 18 games last season. His sending off for Argentina U23s against Colombia, when he lashed out at an opponent, was another example that suggests there is still work to be done on his discipline.
When football does get back underway in Argentina, it will be all the better for Urzi’s presence on the field. His speed, skills and stirring style of play will be one of the highlights and another strong showing this season will see even more suitors circle for this diamond in the rough.
As for his national team future, he should be a game-changing presence for the Albiceleste as they go for gold in Tokyo next year. Given the lack of out-and-out wingers in the Argentina set up, Urzi will do well to learn from Lucas Ocampos’ rise to prominence and he could one day be an interesting wide option for Argentina in the future.
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