When you are aspiring for a raw and young football star, then Serbia might not be the perfect place to try out this experiment. Football graduates often fail to take their degree from this country as they are not born with this talent.
However, if we look back a bit, we will find that Serbia has been the breeding ground of several high-profile players including Chelsea star like Nemanja Matic. Other Serbians like Lazar Markovic, Filip Duricic have also managed to earn name and fame in the premier league’s stage, and all played for Portuguese giants, Benfica at one point.
Scout Report on Ivan Saponjic
Another Serbian player, who is is making a name for himself since joining Benfica is the highly rated Ivan Saponjic, an 18-year-old prodigy and it will be worth looking after whether he can be the next European star in the coming days.
What makes Saponjic different from other teenagers?
Former Partizan youngster, Ivan Saponjic has signed a five-and-a-half-year contract with the Portuguese giants, Benfica FC.
To be fair, he is one of the diamonds carved by the Serbian international team after numerous years, and is a lot more than just a promising talent, but is yet to be opened up. His signing was recognised as a mere gamble by the Benfica fans.
In 2013, when Serbia was crowned as the U-20 world champions in New Zealand, he was an active member of the squad, though as a substitute, but surprisingly, he managed to become his team’s top goal-scorer. The year of 2015 was good enough for him and his flying start in 2016 put him on the top of many managers’ wish list.
What makes Saponjic one of the best youth players?
Talking about his preferred position in the line-up, the place up front, as a striker suits him the most, from where he can dictate the whole game. Standing at 1.88m, he certainly isn’t one of the tallest players but his presence on the field is always recognised as a potential danger by the opponents.
Undeniably, he is a gifted player, who stays at the top of his game throughout, and his technique, pace and anticipation makes him oven fiercer.
Another aspect of his game which is vastly appreciable is his wish to learn and the commitment to the team. Besides, he is always waiting for the right opportunity to show his outrageous talent. His overhead kick against BATE Borisov in the UEFA Europa league is the main reason behind the sudden attention in his craft from all the top European side.
Saponjic’s outrageous overhead kick vs Bate
Talking of exceptional traits, he is a one-on-one situation specialist, has to be, because he always tries to beat the offside trap and likes to shoot from distance. Defensive frailties are punished hard by this youngster.
His other strengths include his silent and quick movement in the final third, and quick decision making. The way he receives that ball and then maintains the possession are highly impressive. His physicality meets the type of game he wants to play, having a body that never gets injured.
At the age of 18, he is much more than what was initially expected of him. Having fulfilled the initial expectation, the best part about Saponjic is that, he is not willing to stop, he has the hunger to go on and be the very best in coming seasons.
Inconsistency and immaturity form his negative points. The main problem is, he tries to play the whole game on his own and is least cared about anybody else on the pitch, for which a passing game becomes a far-fetched target.
His overconfidence might drown him in the near future. Once he starts with his skills, with his head down, a pass from him becomes impossible.
However, the biggest question that arise is whether he can afford a premier league life, full of pain and thrill and hardly rewarding.
However, with the passage of time, he might work on these aspects, and most probably will be one of the finest footballing talents in the near future.
Clubs linked with this young talent
English side, Tottenham have been showing some interest in this player, though nothing has come to pass so far. However, Mauricio Pochettino’s scouts are constantly watching this kid, and with the green signal from the manager, we might see Ivan Saponjic ply his trade in Premier League football next season.
Image credit: getty, Video credit: Youtube