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Talent Radar

South American Young Player of the Year 2017: Gabriel Jesus

The third edition of the Young Stars of the Year champions the combination of youth & diversity, as we look to reward seven of the best young individuals across seven primary categories.

Under our Talent Radar banner, we have constantly strived to document and highlight the progress of the younger stars of the beautiful game, before they progress into household names.

The third edition of the Young Stars of the Year champions the combination of youth & diversity, as we look to reward seven of the best young individuals across seven primary categories.

Eligibility: 21 years old and below on January 1st, 2017

Gabriel Jesus’ 2017

Every footballing generation is defined by a Brazilian. We’ve gone through years of Garrincha, Pele, Zico, Socrates, Ronaldo, Ronaldinho, Kaka and many others who have donned the golden yellow of Brazil, whilst making millions worldwide fall in love with the beautiful game. Though Neymar is arguably the poster boy for the current Brazilian national team, Gabriel Jesus is perhaps one that is going to define the next generation of the South American giants.

Jesus would make his debut for Manchester City in 2017, having completed a historic season with Palmeiras. He scored on his first start for the club against West Ham United, before adding a brace four days later against Swansea. An unfortunate metatarsal injury in his right foot would keep the Brazilian out of action for nearly two months before returning and continuing his scoring form eventually finishing with a record of a goal in every game that he started for the Manchester club. His scintillating form and unfortunate injury prompted Pep Guardiola to state on the title race “….what would have happened if I had been able to have Gabriel Jesus all season, but I will never know.” A fair point from the manager as Manchester City have won nearly every game in which Gabriel Jesus has started, a run continuing on from last season into the new campaign. At the time of writing, Gabriel Jesus has started twenty-one games for Manchester City in all competitions – with the side winning nineteen of those, and drawing two.

Used both as a sole striker in a front three, or in a two-man partnership with Sergio Aguero, Gabriel Jesus is at the heart of Guardiola’s attacking system. Having arrived in England as a teenager, it’s a pleasant surprise to see a young South American transition seamlessly whilst many others have struggled in newer pastures, both in England and in the wider European continent.

Jesus is also the focal point of Tite’s Brazilian squad, wearing the number nine, like many greats before him. Deployed in a three man front line, Jesus is given the central role with the likes of Neymar and Philippe Coutinho on either side.

Having firmly established himself as one of world football’s up and coming strikers in 2017, the new calendar year will truly be a career defining year for the youngster with Manchester City’s domestic and European exploits in mind, along with a crucial World Cup for the Brazilian national team. (written by Sami Faizullah)

Final Nominees

In alphabetical order:

  • Davinson Sanchez (Colombia & Tottenham Hotspur / Ajax Amsterdam)
  • Emmanuel Mammana (Argentina & Zenit St. Petersburg / Lyon)
  • Gabriel Jesus (Brazil & Manchester City)
  • Maxi Gomez (Uruguay & Celta Vigo / Defensor Sporting)
  • Rodrigo Bentancur (Uruguay & Juventus / Boca Juniors)

What do the Experts say?

Brazilian football expert, Jack Lang, told us this about Gabriel Jesus:

“Having watched Gabriel Jesus blossom in Brazil, I had high hopes for him when he moved to Manchester City. But even the player himself must have been taken aback by the speed of his adaptation to the Premier League over the last year. What is most striking about him is his sheer poly-valence: he scores, he commits opponents, he wins the ball back and his movement is excellent. All that and he’s still only 20… what a player.”

Journalist with the The Independent, Jack-Pitt Brooke told Outside of the Boot this:

“What has most impressed me about Gabriel Jesus since he arrived in his England is not just his speed, skill and his instincts in the penalty box, but how much he enjoys the physical side of the game. He works hard, loves a physical battle and is perfect for Pep Guardiola’s pressing style. He has event kept Sergio Aguero out of the team, which takes some doing.”

Nathan Allen of City Watch had this to say:

“Gabriel Jesus has been a revelation this year – he’s settled in brilliantly and is already among the best strikers in the league. City fans have really taken to him and look forward to watching him get even better under Pep Guardiola’s tutelage.”

Talent Radar Accolades

From the Scout Report

Excerpt from Edin Halilovic‘s Scout Report of Gabriel Jesus (January 2017)

“Jesus is an uncompromising all-round forward who can offer a lot both on and off the ball. With the ball, he’s a driving force who is always looking to get the ball forward and cause danger to the opposition with his runs from deep, his dribbling abilities, and his keenness to link up with his teammates to take opposing defenders out of the equation as a means of reaching the goal. Without the ball, he utilizes his intelligent movement and pitch awareness to find pockets of space to wander into to either offer himself as a passing option for his teammates or to create more room for them by taking away their markers and attracting their attention with clever off-the-ball runs.”

South American Young Player of the Year History

YearPlayerAgeNationalityClub (at the time)Current Club
2017Gabriel Jesus20BrazilManchester
2016Davinson Sanchez20ColombiaAjax Amsterdam & Atletico NacionalTottenham Hotspur
2015Paulo Dybala22ArgentinaJuventusJuventus

Young Stars of the Year 2017 / 2016 / 2015

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