Known in his native Colombia as 'La Nueva Promesa' the pocket-sized midfielder Juan Fernando Quintero is living up to his name in his first season for Pescara in Serie A.
Arriving in Summer 2012 on loan form Colombian side Atlético Nacional the 19-year-old has generated a maelstrom of interest with of course, Serie A's big names already linked with the player. His 1.70 metre frame attracts the interest of the Italian supporter, because, probably more than the other leagues, the Italian loves a short, creative midfield player and Quintero ticks all the appropriate boxes.
Balance in a footballer is one of the most exquisite skills that marks a player apart. It is one of the inherent characteristics that the truly great players have, and Quintero has it in spades. A lower centre of gravity and dribbling ability combined with an uncompromising physicality and good shooting range mean the player is touted as the next big thing in these parts.
Colombia is currently enjoying the harvest of a slew of young talent that show plenty of promise and Quintero is the cream of the crop. Seeds sewn in Colombia's youth development are showing results now as the national side stands on the verge of great things, with a so-called 'golden generation'. Quintero made his full debut with the national team in September in their World Cup qualifier 4-0 thrashing of Uruguay.
Quintero arrived at a Pescara, shorn of their best players and their much-loved attack-minded coach Zdenek Zeman. The gifted youths Ciro Immobile, Lorenzo Insigne, and Marco Verratti were key to the club's promotion last year but have since moved on the greener pastures leaving Pescara in a newly promoted position, but without the personnel to launch a meaningful attempt at retaining their newfound higher status. It represents both an opportunity and a risk for the diminutive Colombian as, first team places will be easier to come by at Pescara, but the team may certainly struggle against Serie A's bigger clubs.
If Pescara is a perfect shop window for the Colombian, he has been advertising his wares admirably this season. it could represent a cross-roads for the youngster, as at only 19, away from his native Colombia, and enjoying top league football you hope that he can remain focused and work hard on bringing his game on. If he does though, the rewards would be great indeed.
By Hugo Mc Cafferty