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World Cup One To Watch: Argentina’s 21-year-old midfielder Giovani Lo Celso

Giovani Lo Celso
Photo: Getty Images

Argentina

World Cup One To Watch: Argentina’s 21-year-old midfielder Giovani Lo Celso

The Argentina international will be a player to keep an eye out for in Russia.

Argentina are one of the favourites to win the 2018 FIFA World Cup after a runners-up finish last time out in Brazil.

Nonetheless, they travel to Russia a more well-rounded side compared to that which tasted defeat to Germany four years ago, largely due to the addition of Paris Saint Germain youngster, Giovani Lo Celso.

Overshadowed by Lionel Messi for his country and Neymar for his club, Lo Celso falls under the category of ‘under-appreciated, but highly influential’ at each level he plays.

At just 21 years of age, the Argentine has reinvented himself as a balanced midfielder throughout his time in the French capital, proving to be the missing ingredient for both of the teams he turns out for.

An impressive passing range, above average technique and the capability to play from deep and recycle possession, makes him a particularly important player in Argentina’s current system.

To see who else features in The Boot Room’s World Cup Ones to Watch series, click here.

Who is he?

A product of Rosario Central, PSG paid nearly €10 million for Lo Celso’s services back in July of 2016.

The 21-year-old initially had a slow start in Paris, but injuries to important first-team players ensured departing boss Unai Emery granted him an opportunity to showcase his ability.

He finally made his PSG debut in April, and became an important squad member in Unai Emery’s side this season, with his impressive technical ability making him look comfortable alongside the world’s most expensive players.

Despite making 47 appearances across all competitions and establishing himself as a regular among stars at club level, he will be one of the lesser-known players heading to Russia this summer.

(Photo by Juan Mabromata/Getty Images)

What is his international experience/record?

Lo Celso’s continued development saw him named in Argentina’s squad for November’s friendlies against Russia and Nigeria.

The 21-year-old appeared in both matches for his first two international caps, before featuring a further three times later in the season against Italy, Spain and Haiti.

Why will he be a breakout World Cup star?

From relative unknown to regular starter, 2018 has marked a major breakthrough year for the midfielder.

After a slow start at PSG, it appeared entirely unlikely that the 21-year-old would play his way into Argentina’s World Cup squad, and yet, he has.

More forward-thinking players, including Lionel Messi, long for players like Lo Celso to provide the foundations from which to launch attack after attack.

For Argentine’s abundance of talented front men, the 21-year-old has essentially simplified their job, allowing them to focus on putting the ball in the back of the next.

(Photo by Christophe Archambault/Getty Images)

What is his future after the World Cup?

With a bright future at Paris Saint Germain, Lo Celso will only be interested in one club once the summer competition comes to an end.

Former Borussia Dortmund manager Thomas Tuchel is set to take over the reigns at Parc des Princes, after Emery’s departure, and the 21-year-old will be keen to get his head down and impress his new manager.

Lo Celso has established himself among a young core of players that will lend itself very kindly to Tuchel and the project he is hoping to build in Ligue 1.

To see who else features in The Boot Room’s World Cup Ones to Watch series, click here.

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Chris is the founder of The Boot Room. He is a Swindon Town supporter, having lived in Wiltshire for most of his years. His work has also featured on Squawka, Bleacher Report and Eurosport.

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