World Cup One to Watch: Giorgian De Arrascaeta

RealSport take a closer look at the Uruguayan youngster who is looking to impress at this summer's World Cup.

REUTERS/Andres Stapff

With reports of Monaco and Wolverhampton Wanderers chasing the Cruzeiro midfielder, it may not be long before a wider audience get to sample the delights of the 23-year-old’s game. 

Uruguay’s number ten has turned heads over the past few seasons after his move from Defensor Sporting. However, still in his infancy on the international stage, we are expected to learn a lot about De Arrascaeta this summer in Russia.

The formally touted ‘wonder-kid’ is an attacking midfielder who is likely to prove an invaluable commodity in the support of Edinson Cavani and Luis Suarez at the finals. 

Whether this be from a starting position or off the bench, the 13-caps that De Arrascaeta has earned have highlighted his potential stardom in the heart of the Uruguayan attack.

Past season

Sitting in tenth spot in Brazil's Serie A division, Cruzeiro have had a mixed start to the 2018 campaign. 

Playing to the left on attacking midfield three, De Arrascaeta has already found joy in his five limited experiences; two assists and a goal - against Sport Recife - show the form that the youngster is currently in as the Brazilian league looks towards its summer break.

REUTERS/Cristiane Mattos

The 23-year-old has shone brightest, however, in the Campeonato Mineiro - the state championship of Minas Gerais. Two assists and four goals over his 13 appearances bolstered the Cruzeiro attack as they went on to claim their 39th title.

A fourth-minute goal in the second leg of their final against Atletico Mineiro proved pivotal with Raposa trailing 3-1 after the first leg.

International experience

Albeit limited, De Arrascaeta's international experience has enabled him to become a firm part of Oscar Tabarez's plans. 

The midfielder arrives in Russia with a big chance to make an impact in La Celeste's group matches, with an impact substitution likely to pave the way for starts in the latter games.

Suggesting that De Arrascaeta arrives in Russia as a 'Plan B' for the 71-year-old's tactical approach would be of disservice. This being said, if a 4-4-2 approach is adopted by the Uruguayan coach then De Arrascaeta may be frozen out, waiting on a situation that requires an attacking spark.

REUTERS/Andres Stapff

The concern will be whether the Monaco target will be trusted in the games that matter for Uruguay. 

In qualifying for the World Cup, his only appearances were against lower-level opposition: Bolivia, Venezuela and Peru, and with a win, draw and loss in those three fixtures, De Arrascaeta still needs opportunities to prove he can deliver for his country.

This narrative is strengthened when looking at his solitary goal on the international stage. Scoring the fourth goal in a 5-1 friendly win over 141th ranked Guatemala is hardly an achievement to hang your hat on. However, a goal's a goal...

Tactical profile

Uruguay's system is not set in stone. However, it looks likely that Tabarez will favour a 4-4-2, with Matias Vecino and Rodrigo Bentancur sat in the middle with De Arrascaeta and Cristian Rodriguez occupying the wings.

The World Cup finals are not a place to experiment although the Uruguayan coach has been known to tinker. This might open the door for De Arrascaeta to sit in behind Edinson Cavani and Luis Suarez in the typically defined 'number ten' position.

Matias Vecino has been superb for Inter all season. His supply of formidable cover for the brute central defensive partnership that is Diego Godin and Jose Gimenez should allow Tabarez to take risks in the final third of the pitch.

Uruguay have a favourable group at the World Cup facing Egypt, Saudi Arabia and Russia in Group A. La Celeste are expected to qualify for the Round of 16 unscathed with plenty of opportunity to rotate across all three fixtures. 

De Arrascaeta may only be handed a cameo role in the opening fixture - it's down to the 23-year-old to take his chance when it matters the most.

What have been your first impressions of Giorgian De Arrascaeta's career? Let us know in the comments section.

Listen to the RealSport football writers discuss Uruguay in Kremlins in the Basement: RealSport’s daily World Cup podcast.

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Lewis Watson

London-based football writer and former boxing editor, with a specialised eye for sports betting. Featured on Betfair, BetVictor + others.

A Munich pilgrim to witness Chelsea winning their maiden European Cup.