Erik Lamela

(River)

Age: 18

It’s high time that Erik “Lick It” Lamela got a mention in this column. It’s looking more and more likely that he’ll be off to the lush green pastures of Europe sooner rather than later. In fact, Barcelona tried to sign a tweeny Erik six years ago, angering many here in Argentina who are sick of seeing their talented players poached at ever younger ages. Luckily for River Plate, Lamela decided to continue the early part of his career with the “Millionarios”. Although his skills have been apparent for a long time, he has only just been brought up into the first team. And he is already a vital cog in River’s attacking play. While the likes of Ortega and Buonanotte are rotated, “Lick It” is usually trusted to run things in the final third from kick off. Comfortable on the ball and a fluid dribbler, his range of intelligent passing and free-kick taking skills are as mature as those of a 30-year-old. His elegant style is perfectly suited to the European game; think classy attacker along the lines of Boban or Stankovic. No wonder Juventus and other big guns are interested. Remember the name.

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