The South American U20 Championships are upon us. And Cricket Soccer is all over it. Coming up it’s 5 outstanding Uruguayans to look out for
Nicolás Schiappacasse: Striker – Atletico Madrid B
Nearly ten years ago, a 19-year-old boy from Salto, called Edinson Cavani, lit up the Copa América U20 tournament. Cavani was the top scorer, earned his move to Serie A side Palermo and went on to become one of Europe’s most feared No9’s. This generation’s Cavani can be Nicolás Schiappacasse, as the youngster sure has all the potential to follow in his compatriot’s footsteps.
Two main qualities of Schiappacasse – currently playing for Atlético Madrid B – are his acceleration and his great predator instincts. The latter he has shown multiple times for Uruguay U20, scoring nine times in 12 appearances. Showcasing his goal scoring talent in Ecuador would certainly improve the chances of Uruguay success as well as his own development.
Rodrigo Bentancur: Midfielder – Boca Juniors
Soon-to-be Juventus player Rodrigo Bentancur is one of Uruguay’s biggest promises of recent years. The 19-year-old Uruguayan is a technically gifted midfielder able to dictate the game, but also offers a lot when his team is not in possession. Underlining his defensive value to the Boca Juniors team, Bentancur has been the Argentine club’s top tackler with 2.8 tackles per game over the last 12 months.
In Ecuador, at the Copa América, Bentancur will be one of few youngsters that won’t have to worry about impressing club scouts but will be more interested in the observations of Uruguay manager Oscar Tabárez. Bentancur’s versatility is something Uruguay could benefit from in the future.
Nicolás De La Cruz: Midfielder – Liverpool
One of the most exciting players of the Uruguay U20 team is captain Nicolás De La Cruz (19). The 5ft6 Uruguayan has impressed since his professional debut in 2015 and has now grown into a key player for both club and country. De La Cruz’ main attributes include his speed of thought to pick the right pass and his wonderful dribbling ability.
A move to the old continent seems just a matter of time and the upcoming Copa América U20 could accelerate that process. It’s the perfect platform for De La Cruz to lead Uruguay to glory and at the same time display some of his traits to the sea of European scouts that will be on show.
Rodrigo Amaral: Nacional – Striker
Having already appeared 39 times, you can say 19-year-old Rodrigo Amaral is the most experienced player in the Uruguay U20 team. In fact, the Nacional man is the only current Uruguay U20 player to have participated in the Copa América U20 of 2015.
Back then, Amaral was one of Uruguay’s biggest revelations. However, the lively forward hasn’t been able to kick on. , Amaral has just featured once since the 2015/2016 campaign for his boyhood club, Nacional Montevideo, leading to his lessoned importance to the side.
Not all is lost, though, because a good showing in the upcoming Copa América and Amaral will be right back in the picture.
Joaquín Ardaiz: Danubio – Striker
After being linked to EPL giants Chelsea and Liverpool and being called the ‘Next Luis Suárez’ by the English media when he was just 16, pressure was imposed on Joaquín Ardaiz (18).
The powerful striker hasn’t cracked under that pressure, though, but has instead thrived under it. Last year, Ardaíz was one of Danubio’s key players in a title-challenging campaign and proved to be an influential addition to the Uruguay U20 team.
The next few weeks provides Ardaiz with the opportunity to make a name for himself on the international stage and subsequently attract interest from Europe once again.