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The Lad is going to be a superstar - Part 4

Article by Craig Muncey

The fourth player I look at in this 5 part series is a young Spaniard by the name of Jesus Joaquin Fernandez Saenz De La Torre, or as known in football circles, Suso.

Suso (as I'll call him) joined the Cadiz CF youth team in 2004 when he was just 12 years of age. After starring in a pre-season friendly in 2009 he started to gather attention, nationally and also internationally. In the summer of 2010 Suso was on the verge of joining Real Madrid, with Barcelona also keenly interested in his services, however a call from Rafael Benitez, the Liverpool manager at the time, changed all that. Suso immediately made the decision to move to the academy at Liverpool, he was just 16 years old, and high expectations were already put on the youngster.

On his 17th birthday Suso signed a professional contract. He played a few pre-season matches, however, following this he was placed into the reserves for him to settle and adjust. He made a number of appearances for the reserves during 2010-2011 season, and the 2011-2012 season, he was still young, and changes in the manager position, with Roy Hodgson and Kenny Dalglish, did not aid his progression. The player’s attributes include a lovely left foot, great technique and a powerful shot.

In 2012, Suso made his full league debut for Liverpool in a Europa Cup match in Switzerland against Young Boys. Brendan Rodgers was giving youngsters an opportunity and Suso was 18 years of age. The player then went on in that season to play 20 league matches in the 2012-2013 season, 12 starts, mostly in an advanced role on the right hand side. He played for Spain in the 2012 under 19 European Championships, helping them to win that tournament. It appeared the player had arrived and had a good career ahead with the club.

The 2013 season was just about to start, and Rodgers, with Coutinho and Sterling now the main support acts to Suarez, made the decision to loan Suso out to Almeria in La Liga for the season. The club had just earned promotion back to the top division in Spain and it was a struggle for them. They avoided relegation on the final day of the season, and Suso had played his part. He appeared in 33 matches, starting 26, this experience could only aid his Liverpool career.....couldn’t it?

He came back to Liverpool for the 2014-2015 season, however, as before, his first team chances were blocked by Coutinho and Sterling. Now though he had further players playing in similar positions, such as Jordan Ibe, Adam Lallana and Lazar Markovic. Suso only played one match in the season for Liverpool, a great match at Anfield against Middelsborough, which Suso scored in. He also scored 2 penalties in the shoot out, Liverpool finally winning on penalties 14-13!

Suso’s contract was up in the summer of 2015, and he must of realised that his playing time was going to be limited to say the least at Liverpool. Also, he received an offer of a new contract from the club, which he felt was derisory. AC Milan made an offer to Liverpool to take the player at the end of his contract, however, the decision was made for Milan to take the player in January 2015 for a fee of around £800,000. To date, he has 4 games for the Milan club.

Suso left under a bit of a cloud, criticising management for his treatment. In my view, he is a highly technical player and does have a great range of passing, however, he is small in stature, and games can pass him by. Suso needs to impose himself more or there is a real danger he will just drift away from top divisions in Europe.

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