Here are a list of young players to look out for during this year's competition
With the Copa America due to start in a couple of days, there will be a lot to look forward to with the likes of Lionel Messi, Sergio Aguero, Alisson, Luis Suarez, etc. in action. However, our focus will be towards the young guns of the tournament that are likely to produce some magic. A lot of factors have been taken into consideration such as how likely are these players to get game time, last seasons’ club performance, etc. Players like Gabriel Jesus, Rodrigo Bentancur and so on have not been considered because they have had their breakthrough seasons before the last season. Let us take a look at some of the top young players who are hoping to make a big impression in this year’s Copa America!
Honorable Mentions - Lucas Paqueta, Everton Soares, Federico Valverde, Eder Militao.
1. Giovani Lo Celso (Argentina)
It looks to be a big challenge replacing someone like Javier Mascherano but the young central midfielder from Real Betis (on loan from PSG) looks the part. What sets apart Lo Celso is his knack of going upfield and grabbing a goal or two. His exploits in midfield allowed Betis to finish in the top half of the La Liga table while progress was also seen in the Europa League and Copa De Rey. Argentina will need someone to chip in with goals from the midfield if their forward line gets nullified and they will look to Lo Celso for a solid showing in the center of the park.
Stats for the season: Apps - 45, Goals - 16, Assists - 5, Tackles/game - 1.9.
2. Lautaro Martinez (Argentina)
No Higuain! No Icardi! Lautaro Martinez will be the only striker aside from Sergio Aguero to be a part of the squad. He will get his chances no doubt and he will need to grab them. While he hasn’t exactly been on fire with his performances for Inter, it’s largely down to the huge number of substitute appearances. Plus it was his first season in European football and a bit of acclimatization was needed. Martinez might not get to start games but he might just get the chance to finish them.
Stats for the season: Apps - 35, Goals - 9, Assists - 2, Shots/game - 2.2.
3. David Neres (Brazil)
David Neres was a part of the exciting Ajax side that defied expectations in Europe this year and has won his place in the national team on the back of those performances. While it wasn’t expected that Neres would get a lot of game time, Neymar’s serious injury and withdrawal from the tournament means that Neres is likely to get a good few minutes under his belt. A versatile attacker, Neres can play across the frontline as well as drop into the midfield if required.
Stats for the season: Apps - 44, Goals - 11, Assists - 10, Key Passes/game - 1.1, Dribbles/game - 1.8.
4. Arthur (Brazil)
There’s a certain pleasure in watching Arthur play. The way he glides across the pitch, spots a pass, finds a teammate in the tightest of spaces and just controls the tempo makes him one to keep an eye out for. He’s had a great debut season for Barcelona and will hope to continue in the same vein when he puts on the canary yellow.
Stats for the season: Apps - 43, Pass Accuracy - 93.7%, Long Balls/game - 2.
5. Maxi Gomez (Uruguay)
Uruguay has had a famed history of producing world class forwards such as Severino Varela, Hector Scarone, Diego Forlan and the more present names include Luis Suarez and Edinson Cavani. Maximiliano Gomez can follow suit if he manages to get a nominal amount of time on the pitch to show what he can do, just like the way he’s played for Celta Vigo this season. It remains to be seen whether he can oust either of Suarez or Cavani or even get a nod ahead of Stuani but none of them are young anymore, which should give Maxi Gomez some hope.
Stats for the season: Apps - 35, Goals - 15, Assists - 5, Shots/game - 2.2.