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While Newcastle United proved unable to add to the Premier League-seasoned operators they brought in before the season started as the transfer window came to an end, they did strengthen their U23 department.
Rodrigo Vilca, a Peruvian attacking midfielder, arrived from Deportivo Municipal on a four-year-deal on the 5th October after breaking into the Lima giants’ first-team and the international set-up.
Obviously, an easy comparison could be drawn between Vilca - who has already made an impressive debut for the U23s - and compatriot Nolberto Solano, though they would be wide of the mark.
Where does he play?
Speaking to Peruvian football expert Pedro Canelo, he told GiveMeSport’s Jonathan Gorrie: ‘Vilca is a midfielder with very good technique and intelligent on the field’, while another Peru-based journalist, Diego Montalvan, drew a slight comparison with a current Toon star.
Montalvan described Vilca as an ‘attacking midfielder who is comfortable as a 10, 8 or even an LW’ and said ‘another pure 10 you could compare him to is Miguel Almiron, although he gets fouled a lot more’, which may centre around the fact he is relatively slight-framed and an athlete yet to properly fill out.
So, it seems Vilca plays further up the pitch than Solano did as a traditional right-winger in a 4-4-2 and Transfermarkt list the majority of his career appearances (12) in a No.10 role.
Career to date…
Twenty-nine appearances in the Peruvian capital is, clearly, not the biggest sample size but Vilca has certainly grown in importance of late. Indeed, since 2019, he made 23 of his appearances and saw his goal contributions rise from 1 to 6, coming in a productive span of eight games.
That form did see him called up to the international set-up, though he is yet to play.
Making his debut in black and white for the U23s against Fulham earlier this week, Vilca was spotted netting a stunning free-kick in the warm-up and showed some nice touches (you can see above and below) so there’s certainly talent there to work with.
When is he likely to feature in the first-team?
Canelo believes he’s likely to be loaned out to ‘grow’ though adds that ‘process will not take long’ such is the ability of the player.
Montalvan, meanwhile, said he thought ‘he needs to gain some muscle and have the confidence from his coach and teammates’, which is understandable and probably to be expected somewhat.
The early signs are certainly promising for Vilca and perhaps Newcastle United will soon have another Peruvian star.
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