Talent Scout: Andy Polo, Universitario

As Derby County gave a shock Championship start to 15-year-old Mason Bennett last weekend, football fans up and down the country looked on in unified surprise, at a début for a player only able to feature because of the half term school break.

A solid performance, in what proved to be a 2-0 defeat to Middlesbrough, combined with a brace for England's Under-16's two weeks previously, leaves Bennett as one of the most sought after prospects around. Yet almost 6000 miles away, another youngster, being chased by the same top clubs, also caught the eye.



He's Andy Polo, a promising Peruvian striker, who was busy bagging an equaliser for Universitario in their 1-1 draw with Godoy Cruz, whilst talk of Bennett continued. It was a goal and performance that only proved to further entice the on-looking scouts, many of whom were representing Europe's elite outfits.



For those who have followed the Polo story, the attention he's getting is no surprise. Born into a poor family in Lima, Perú, he joined the ranks of the country's most successful ever club side, Universitario, aged 10. Six years later, a first-team début last April was followed up with a trophy, as he helped secure the Under-20 version of the Copa Libertadores, for the first time in the club's 87 year history.



His stock has also risen on the international front, with three goals in four games for Perú's Under-17's, leading to national team coach Sergio Markarian lauding Polo as 'a complete striker. He's not far wrong. Pace, power, composure and a good range of finishing - it's all there, but delve a little deeper, and you'll discover those abilities are remarkably well developed, for somebody so young.



Polo is still quite raw and tactically naive, but his well tuned instincts, intelligence and admirable spirit all aid mature decision making. Whether that's timing runs in behind defenders, creating space for himself in the box, or shot selection, he chooses options few players his age have the awareness to.



At 16, Polo is already well physically developed. Strong, powerful and enthusiastic in duels with defenders, he's only five foot seven inches tall, but is surprisingly illusive and dominant in the air. Tricky, stocky, quick and with a good attitude, there's a lot going for him, but as a striker, it's all about scoring goals.



And that's where he shows off perhaps his best asset - finishing. Polo has been operating as a winger in recent weeks, but it's clear that a role down the middle is his future. In front of goal, the 16-year-old is an intriguing mix of composure with placed finishes, and explosive lashes. The consistency needs some work, but the basics are all there.



Ultimately, Polo is a diamond in the rough. He's already shown enough to warrant a transfer, where, with continued development, the addition of better tactical nous and work tidying up other parts of his game, he can take a place among the new wave of South American strikers taking Europe by storm.

PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Voices
Ukip leader Nigel Farage arrives at the Rochester by-election count
voicesIs it any wonder that Thornberry, Miliband, and Cameron have no idea about ordinary everyday life?
Sport
sportComment: Win or lose Hamilton represents the best of Britain
Life and Style
tech
Sport
Arsene Wenger reacts during Arsenal's 2-1 defeat to Swansea
footballMan United and Arsenal meet on Saturday with both clubs this time languishing outside the top four
News
i100BBC political editor Nick Robinson had a lot of explaining to do
Life and Style
Nappies could have advice on them to encourage mothers and fathers to talk to their babies more often
newsTalking to babies can improve their language and vocabulary skills
Sport
Tony Bellew holds two inflatable plastic sheep at the weigh-in for his rematch with Nathan Cleverly
boxingGrudge match takes place on Saturday night
Arts and Entertainment
Mark Ronson at PS1
arts + ents
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Day In a Page

US immigration: President Obama ready to press ahead with long-promised plan to overhaul 'broken system' - but will it get past a Republican-controlled Congress?

Immigration: Obama's final frontier

The President is ready to press ahead with the long-promised plan to overhaul America's 'broken system' - but will it get past a Republican-controlled Congress?
Bill Cosby rape allegations explained: Why are these allegations coming out now? Why didn’t these women come forward earlier? And why has nobody taken legal action?

Bill Cosby rape allegations explained

Why are these allegations coming out now? Why has nobody taken legal action? And what happens next for the man once thought of as 'America's Dad'
Four years of excruciating seizures caused by the 1cm tapeworm found burrowing through a man's brain

You know that headache you’ve got?

Four years of excruciating seizures caused by the 1cm tapeworm found burrowing through a man's brain
Travelling to work by scooter is faster than walking and less sweaty than cycling, so why aren’t we all doing it?

Scoot commute

Travelling to work by scooter is faster than walking and less sweaty than cycling, so why aren’t we all doing it?
Paul Robeson: The story of how an American icon was driven to death to be told in film

The Paul Robeson story

How an American icon was driven to death to be told in film
10 best satellite navigation systems

Never get lost again: 10 best satellite navigation systems

Keep your vehicle going in the right direction with a clever device
Paul Scholes column: England must learn to keep possession and dictate games before they are exposed by the likes of Germany and Brazil

Paul Scholes column

England must learn to keep possession and dictate games before they are exposed by the likes of Germany and Brazil
Michael Dawson: I’ll thank Spurs after we win says defender as he prepares to return with Hull

Michael Dawson: I’ll thank Spurs after we win

Hull defender faces his struggling former club on Sunday ready to show what they are missing. But he says he will always be grateful to Tottenham
Frank Warren column: Dr Wu has big plans for the professionals yet he should stick to the amateur game

Frank Warren column

Dr Wu has big plans for the professionals yet he should stick to the amateur game
Synagogue attack: Fear unites both sides of Jerusalem as minister warns restoring quiet could take 'months'

Terror unites Jerusalem after synagogue attack

Rising violence and increased police patrols have left residents of all faiths looking over their shoulders
Medecins sans Frontieres: The Ebola crisis has them in the headlines, but their work goes far beyond West Africa

'How do you carry on? You have to...'

The Ebola crisis has Medecins sans Frontieres in the headlines, but their work goes far beyond West Africa
Isis extends its deadly reach with suicide bombing in Kurdish capital

Isis extends its deadly reach with suicide bombing in Kurdish capital

Residents in what was Iraq’s safest city fear an increase in jihadist attacks, reports Patrick Cockburn
Underwater photography competition winners 2014 - in pictures

'Mysterious and inviting' shot of diver wins photography competition

Stunning image of cenote in Mexico takes top prize
Sir John Major: Negative West End portrayals of politicians put people off voting

Sir John Major hits out at theatres

Negative West End portrayals of politicians put people off voting
Kicking Barbie's butt: How the growth of 3D printing enabled me to make an army of custom-made figurines

Kicking Barbie's butt

How the growth of 3D printing enabled toy-designer to make an army of custom-made figurines