Brendan Rodgers impeccable record of developing youth should incite him to consider two of Spain’s most exciting prospects this summer.
20-year-old winger Jese of Real Madrid Castilla and Benfica’s 22-year-old striker Rodrigo are two of the most promising talents on the continent. The elder has featured for Spain in this summer’s U21 Championships and his record is incredible – 15 goals scored in 15 appearances.
Meanwhile, Jese, two years his junior, has been working away down in Spain’s second tier the Segunda Division with Real Madrid’s B team for whom he’s managed an impressive tally of 22 goals and 12 assists in 38 appearances this term.
At the U19 Championships last year, Jese scored 5 goals in 4 appearances for his country. Both graduates of Real Madrid’s youth system, Rodrigo was sold to Benfica in 2010 at the tender age of just 19.
The prospect of breaking into Real Madrid’s senior first-team squad was both too daunting and too difficult for the youngster with the likes of Gonzalo Higuain, Karim Benzema, and Cristiano Ronaldo presiding over the forward positions for Los Blancos.
However, Jese is now being hailed as the ‘next Cristiano Ronaldo’ in his homeland but comparison’s would be better off waiting a few years – there is not doubt about it, Jese can and likely will become one of La Liga’s future stars.
Rodrigo’s move to Benfica seems to have done him the world of good – in the Portuguese Premeira Liga this term he scored 7 goals in 20 appearances, of which just two he was on the pitch for a full 90 minutes. In the Taca de Portugal, he scored two goals and made two assists in 5 appearances.
Back at Anfield, Brendan Rodgers has succeeded admirably at Liverpool to bring through the ranks a number of gifted youngsters with potential to be fulfilled. The likes of Suso, Raheem Sterling, Martin Kelly, and Andre Wisdom along with his acquisitions of Fabio Borini, Joe Allen, Philippe Coutinho, Oussama Assaidi and Samed Yesil have been astute and informed.
Their development with the Reds is paramount to the future of the club – a player like Borini, for example, must show next season his true capability after spending the majority of this term out injured.
His recent outing for Italy against the Netherlands at this summer’s U21 Championships hints at his potential – the likes of Jese and Rodrigo would be arguably even more suitable to Rodgers’ system and philosophy than the Italian and they could in the future become the next generation’s equivalent of David Villa (in his prime) and perhaps, as Jese hopes, even the Spanish Ronaldo.
For the kind of resources Rodgers has available to him thins summer – he could do a lot worse with around £15 million between them – both are valued under £10 million at present but that will not be the case for long.
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