Manuel Lanzini has enjoyed a fabulous start to his West Ham career, and has even been compared to the likes of David Silva and Luca Modric. Here are a few things you might not know about the player.
1) He has a great nickname
The youngster is nicknamed ‘La Joya’ or ‘The Jewel’ for his sparkling performance characteristics that quickly made him one of the leading players in Argentine soccer. Great news for the tabloids who surely can’t resist a glittering pun. Good job he took those English lessons prior to his Upton Park move so he can understand them all.
2) He had a great upbringing
The 22-year-old is a graduate of the River Plate youth system, an academy famed for producing the likes of Ariel Ortega, Alfredo Di StÃ©fano, and more recently, Gonzalo HiguaÃn and former Hammer Javier Mascherano. He chose the River Plate youth academy over Boca aged just nine and he was quick to make an impression. His teammates tipped him to become a big star in the future.
3) He started young
Lanzini made his professional debut at the age of 17 following the departure of current Spurs forward Erik Lamela for Roma. He came through as a versatile player with the ability to create pace in midfield as well as terrorise defences. One of his stand-out moments for River Plate came when he scored against their biggest rivals, Boca Juniors, a game which ended in historic victory and raised Lanzini’s profile and his exceptional raw talent.
4) He has four youth caps
Billed as a hope for the future of Argentine international football, Lanzini has four caps for the U20s. There has been a lot of pressure on the youngsters at international level and Lanzini has arrived at a time where youth set-ups for the national team perhaps haven’t been up to scratch. Hopes are firmly pinned on the likes of Manuel Lanzini, who is a bright prospect and a keen playmaker. He possesses most traditional traits of an Argentine number 10; dribbling ability, acceleration, good vision and splitting defenders.
5) He doesn’t score that many
Now for the stats. When he turned professional, he netted 13 times in 89 appearances for River Plate over the course of four years. He also put in a handy 14 assists. Once out on loan at Fluminese, he scored five goals in 37 league games. He gained a somewhat better ratio at Al Jazira Club in the UAE League scoring eight times in 24 games.