JESUS Joaquin Fernandez Saez de la Torre is not the first precocious Spanish playmaker Liverpool FC have had in their ranks over the past few years, but the player himself and the club must together make sure that he is the first to succeed in the first team.
Daniel Pacheco’s Liverpool career appears to be all over bar the shouting but there was a time not so long ago when he was earmarked by supporters as a certainty to graduate from youth star to first team regular.
Unfortunately, it never quite worked out that way. For all the wonderful technique that Pacheco displayed in the club’s reserve and youth sides, the Spaniard could never quite make the ultimate break through and become a big player for Liverpool.
Similar in style, stature and even in terms of natural ability to Suso, Pacheco’s failure should serve as a stark reminder to his fellow countryman and the club of just how difficult the bridge to becoming a first team regular can be to cross.
While Suso has generally performed adequately when called upon this season, at times the hurly burly nature of the Premier League has understandably looked a little too much for him and his play has lacked an end product. After featuring heavily in the first half of the season for the Reds, the youngster has found his opportunities limited of late.
Liverpool must be careful now not to let their talented young star stagnate. Suso must be allowed to continue his adaptation to Premier League life as soon as possible and in a way that Pacheco never really managed to do.
Since making his first team bow for the Reds back in 2009, Pacheco has played on loan for three different teams. Perhaps crucially, none of them were Premier League clubs. His first move was down to East Anglia to play in the Championship for Norwich where he only featured six times. His next move saw him go back to his homeland to play for Rayo Vallecano but Pacheco managed just 11 appearances and no goals there.
The lack of top level experience and Premier League appearances has probably counted against Pacheco and is an obvious reason for why he has struggled to adapt to life in England’s top league in the limited chances he has had. It also shows how important next season is for his friend, Suso.
Players can only get used to life in England’s top division by playing games and while Suso has played his fair share for Liverpool early on in the season, it appears that those options will now be limited at Anfield.
Aged 19, Suso is now on the fringes of the Liverpool senior side but still someway away from displacing players like Daniel Sturridge, Luis Suarez or Philippe Coutinho in Brendan Rodgers’ first eleven. Recently he has featured for the club’s Under 21 side and, to his credit, looked a cut above that level.
Too good for the second string but not quite ready for the first team. Many Liverpool players have been in that position over the years (indeed, the likes of Jonjo Shelvey and Raheem Sterling are also in that boat right now) but not gone on to the greater things expected of them at the club. Suso’s current position in the squad seems to leave both club and player with a relatively obvious solution for next season: a loan move to a Premier League club.
Brendan Rodgers has had to use the likes of Suso and Sterling more than he would have liked this season due to the thin nature of his squad but, with Sturridge and Coutinho now added to the ranks and the summer transfer window fast approaching, one suspects that loan moves for the club’s outstanding youngsters will be considered before next season kicks off.
What is of paramount importance is that over the next year, Suso gets regular game time to hone his craft and assimilate to the rigours of the Premier League further. The first half of this season has set some solid foundations in place for the Spaniard and he is now regarded as part of the first team squad at Anfield rather than a youth player with an exceptional talent. It is imperative that his career does not now stutter and ultimately falter during this crucial stage of his development.
So while Liverpool supporters are understandably excited by Suso’s talent, perhaps it would be wise to keep in mind the last Spanish starlet who illuminated Liverpool’s youth and reserve sides before ultimately fading to black.