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U-21: Marco Asensio – Player Focus

Marco Asensio of Spain celebrates his goal for Spain during the UEFA Under 21 Championship Group B match between Spain and FYR Macedonia at Gdynia Stadium in Gdynia, Poland on June 17, 2017 (Photo by Andrew Surma/NurPhoto via Getty Images)
U-21: Marco Asensio – Player Focus

Is the Real Madrid young gun the ‘Real’ deal? The latest noise – bright forward Marco Asensio is on the right path to becoming a great.

As it stands, Asensio, 21, is one of Europe’s most exciting prospects. Perhaps even labelling him as a ‘prospect’ is unfair since the Spaniard already boasts records which all players would strive for.
The former Espanyol loanee has already racked-up an impressive three goals in this years Euro U21s tournament. An electric hat-trick in Spain’s 5-0 thumping over Macedonia puts him on seven goals in just 16 appearances.

 

Asensio hasn’t just been recognised for his goals though. Group B’s second round of fixtures saw Portugal defeated 3-1 to a confident Spanish side, of whom Asensio shepherded. For the second time in the space of four days, the 21 year old was to be the standout performer again. This time round, Asensio was making the headlines for different reasons. He didn’t get on the score sheet, but instead showed his defensive capabilities, timelessly filling in as cover at left back whenever his side were called upon to protect their lead.

 

Asensio is demonstrating his maturity at a very inexperienced age. We witnessed this when he scored the final goal of the Champions League final to ensure Madrid’s 3-1 lead was all but out of reach for the trailing Juventus.

 

The forward was rested for Spain’s final Group B fixture versus Serbia, where they muscled out a tight 1-0 win. Asensio was called upon for La Roja when they faced the dangerous Italians in the semi-finals. The Madrid prodigy proved himself once again on European stage, opening up the game on the left wing, playing neat one-touch football, holding onto possession and keeping a cool head when it mattered. His compatriot – Saul Niguez stole the headlines with his spectacular hat-trick which went on to seal a convincing victory for the Reds. However, Asensio was at the heart of the game-deciding goal, assisting with a run down the left flank before placing a reverse ball in Saul’s path.

 

There are even whispers from the Madrid players and Spanish media tipping the youngster to become Cristiano Ronaldo’s successor – a huge claim for a player who has only quite recently emerged in the 2016/17 season. All be it, his impact has been praised globally on both club and international level.

You know you’re ticking the boxes when your manager (Zinedine Zidane) states you have the ‘best left foot since Lionel Messi. Not too much pressure for the future then! Here are the stats to compliment Zidane’s accolade…

So how will Marco Asensio fare at the European Championship final in Krakow on Friday night? It looks as though he will battle it out with teammate Saul for the golden boot, although his fellow countryman currently sits on an astonishing five goals. Whether or not Asensio adds more trophies to his already nicely decorated cabinet, this is surely a player set for huge things come the 2017/18 season.

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I have been writing for The Stoppage Time since June 2017. Most regularly I focus on The Premier League and speculative discussions. My favourite piece of content consists of previewing The Premier League weekend fixtures and drawing a prediction of results from them.

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