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Scout Report

Scout Report: Ante Coric | The new midfield maestro

Karen Fawaz writes a detailed Scout Report about Ante Coric, the Dinamo Zagreb and Croatia midfielder.


Modric, Boban, Kovac, Rakitic. Croatia’s ability to produce midfield maestros through decades is unquestionable. It’s no surprise that we’re hearing a new name breaking to the scene. Ante Ćorić, the youngster who was labelled as ‘the future of Croatian football’ by many, is one to watch.

Who is Ante Coric?

Coric was born in Zagreb, Croatia on 14 April 1997 (19 years old). He entered the football world at a very young age as he used to accompany his father, who was a manager at Dinamo Zagreb’s academy, to his training sessions. When he turned five years old, Ante joined NK Hrvatski Dragovoljac, a club playing in Croatia’s second tier located north of the capital. Four years later, the Croatian signed for NK Zagreb. His impressive display drew many clubs’ attention, including FC Barcelona, Bayern Munich and Chelsea FC but Coric rejected the European giants’ offers and decided to join Red Bull Salzburg in Austria. He later stated that he made this decision to assure his development, as his teammates at Salzburg are ‘better than any other players of the same age anywhere else.’ It was a matter of time for Coric to return to Croatia in 2013 and sign for the country’s biggest club Dinamo Zagreb for an estimated fee of €900.000.

Talent Radar Accolades:

1 year later, on 16 April 2014, 2 days after turning 17, the youngster made his first official debut for Dinamo Zagreb coming on as a substitute in a 3-0 away win against RSK Split. 8 days later, Coric made his first start against Lokomotiva Zagreb, one of the city’s derbies. The midfielder netted his first goal for the club on May 10, in a 1-2 loss to NK Istra 1961. Ante started breaking records at a very young age as he became the youngest player ever to score in Europa League history (17 years and 157 days), after scoring Dinamo’s fifth goal on the club’s European 2014/15 debut in a 5-1 win versus Astra Giurgiu.

On the third of September 2014, Coric made his U-21 Croatian national team debut, meaning that the player got promoted from 3 age categories in a period of 7 months (U18, U19, U21) and the youngest player in the selection.

After being a regular starter for Dinamo in 2015/16, Coric earned a well deserved call up for the senior national team and made his debut in 27 May 2016. Coric was included in the squad traveling to France to participate in the 2016 Euros as well but unfortunately, Ante didn’t feature in the tournament.

What is his Style of Play?

Coric is a midfielder with high offensive contribution. His style of play is similar to Luka Modric’s; He likes to dribble past players and throw himself on the ball. He’s unpredictable as he has the ability to use both of his feet comfortably. The Croatian doesn’t contribute defensively often. His agility allows him to drift to the sides and cross whenever he’s on the wings. He likes to keep the ball at his feet and avoids playing in the air as he’s not very impressive when it comes to aerial duels. Ante Coric is more about technique than power, another common characteristic he shares with the Real Madrid star.

Dinamo Zagreb's midfielder Ante Coric (L) vies with Bayern Munich's midfielder Joshua Kimmich during the UEFA Champions League football match between Dinamo Zagreb v Bayern Munich at the Maksimir stadium in Zagreb on December 9, 2015. AFP PHOTO / ANDREJ ISAKOVIC / AFP / ANDREJ ISAKOVIC (Photo credit should read ANDREJ ISAKOVIC/AFP/Getty Images)

Dinamo Zagreb’s midfielder Ante Coric (L) vies with Bayern Munich’s midfielder Joshua Kimmich during the UEFA Champions League football match between Dinamo Zagreb v Bayern Munich at the Maksimir stadium in Zagreb on December 9, 2015. AFP PHOTO / ANDREJ ISAKOVIC / AFP / ANDREJ ISAKOVIC

What are his strengths?

Ante Coric‘s biggest strength is his versatility. Since 2015/16, Coric has played in 6 different positions: Attacking/Central/Defensive midfielder, Left wing/midfielder and right winger. He completes the roles he’s given by his manager well.

The Croatian’s thinness gives him agility. His movements are very fast and useful to get past players and break up defences. It also allows him to dribble easier; Ante is capable of getting rid of 3 players at a time. He doesn’t use skills, but his pace changing technique, the same technique Messi uses.

The 19-year-old is a good goalscorer and a brilliant playmaker. Since 2015/16, he has been involved in 31 goals from 87 appearances which is great for a youngster playing in different positions every game.

As mentioned earlier, Coric is comfortable with both feet. That makes him very dangerous due to number of options  available for him. The opponents fear him as he’s a trouble-making player.

Ante is very disciplined on the pitch. He doesn’t make unnecessary fouls. Since making his debut for Zagreb, the youngster has been booked only once (Yellow Card vs KF Skënderbeu on 25 August 2015).

What are his Weaknesses?

Coric is incredibly thin. This might be good for a footballer but it also has side effects. Players who aren’t muscular are easily knocked out, Adnan Januzaj is an example: The Belgian is very slim and is always losing in duels, especially playing in the Premier League, where defenders are very tough and well built. But being hefty is also as bad. Over-muscled players lose their agility and will find it hard to get past opponents, exactly the same problem Memphis Depay is facing. Coric should build some muscle until he is physically strong, but keeping his agility the same time at the same time, like Raheem Sterling or Anthony Martial.

The Croatian isn’t aggressive enough. He doesn’t do enough interceptions or tackling, especially when playing as a box to box midfielder.

Despite playing multiple times as a holding midfielder, Ante Coric is bad at defensive contribution, and that’s because of his two weaknesses we mentioned earlier: lack of aggression and muscle. He’s constantly losing duels. That’s why Ante is not ready to protect the two centre-backs, just yet.

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Karene Fawaz
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