Whenever a young teen moves to England from South America, there is a lot of buzz surrounding him. The same has been the case with 18-year-old Julio Cesar Enciso. Who you might ask? The latest addition to the long list of talents assembled by Graham Potter with Brighton wanting to challenge for Europe.
The manager has been working wonders with The Seagulls, and Enciso is a talent waiting to burst onto the scene.
Read also: How Graham Potter became a star in the managerial world
OFFICIAL: 18-year-old Paraguayan forward Julio Enciso is off to Brighton & Hove Albion according to Club Libertad’s president Dr. Ruben Di Tore.
For a fee of about £10 million, it’ll be the biggest transfer fee ever for a Paraguayan player from the domestic league. #BHAFC 🇵🇾✈️🏴 pic.twitter.com/ApbuXVFVE5
— Roberto Rojas (@RobertoRojas97) June 8, 2022
The forward who plays in the Paraguayan top-flight was the league champion with Club Libertad in 2021. Enciso has the potential to follow in the footsteps of other young stars at Brighton to take the Premier League by storm. Though there are question marks over his fit and how much game time he will get, Potter is not averse to playing youngsters.
Looks like Julio Enciso is heading to Brighton.
Enciso for Club Libertad at the age of 18:
Another extremely interesting transfer by The Seagulls! pic.twitter.com/vzzByoYNdW
— Football Talent Scout – Jacek Kulig (@FTalentScout) June 9, 2022
Enciso will be out to prove he can do it on the biggest stages in world football and has one of the best environments to further his game.
Playing career so far
Julio Enciso is from the class of 2004, with star peers such as Barcelona’s midfield gem Gavi and MLS’ goalkeeping prodigy Gabriel ‘Gaga’ Slonina. Enciso started his footballing journey with his hometown club Caaguaza.
Here are the must-know facts about Gaga Slonina that ever football lover needs to know!
He was signed by his current club Libertad when he was 11-years-old. Libertad are one of the most successful teams in Paraguay, and for them to take a punt on Enciso was a big deal.
Debut absoluto de la Joya.
Julio Enciso 👏🏼👏🏼💪🏻🇵🇾
Se vienen más minutos en la @Albirroja. Ojalá!
— Libertad Tweets. (@Libertad_Tweets) June 15, 2021
His debut came on March 17, 2019, as a 15-year-old. Libertad ran out 4-0 winners against Deportivo Santani, with Enciso becoming the youngest debutant in the club’s history. Moreover, he also won the Copa Paraguay that season with Libertad.
2019 also saw Enciso make his first appearance for the Paraguayan national team. He was part of the squad that played at the U15 South American Championship that year.
✅ 31 partidos en Primera, 5 goles y 1 asistencia.
✅ 2 ⚽️ en Copa Libertadores en 4 partidos jugados.
✅ 1 🅰️ en Copa Sudamericana en 2 partidos jugados.
✅ Campeón con Libertad.
✅ Debut con la Selección Paraguaya en Copa América.
Presente y futuro. pic.twitter.com/6kJOtd4wAo
— Abraham Acosta (@Acostaabraham99) June 15, 2021
Enciso’s senior bow came at the Copa America 2021, in the 3-1 win over Bolivia, making him the fifth-youngest player ever.
Now he looks set to take Brighton by storm, and showcase why there’s been so much chatter about him. Enciso has shown he is not afraid of challenges, moving to England at such a young age to play in the Premier League.
Julio Enciso stats
Enciso has developed nicely with Club Libertard since 2019. He hit six goals to go with four assists in the championship-winning 2021 season. Enciso topped that by hitting 11 goals and three assists in 2022. The most amazing fact of it all was that his 2021 haul came from 30 matches, while his 2022 tally was from just 14 games.
Prior to his injury last month, Enciso registered 11 goals (such as this goal) in 17 games in all competitions in which he was the top goalscorer in the Paraguayan league for the majority of the 2022 season.
He departs Libertad after 69 games & 21 goals. pic.twitter.com/vT2ID7IPh0
— Roberto Rojas (@RobertoRojas97) June 8, 2022
That shows the increase in his prolificity in front of goal. Enciso is a master at finding spaces, with his pace and change in direction causing problems for all opponents. Speaking in 2021, Enciso revealed his determination to move abroad, stating,
“I would like to play in Europe. That is my aim.”
He finally has his chance with Brighton, and there are many things to get excited about. Enciso loves dribbling and roaming all over the pitch to pick up the ball.
Moreover, he has played centrally and in wide areas. Libertard have used him as a number 10 too, taking up the creative role. However, that position does not have much space for Enciso to showcase his full talents. Therefore, it is best to have him as one of the furthest players forward on the pitch.
Julio Enciso scout report
Enciso has shown the decisive nature needed to become one of the top goalscorers. He loves getting into the penalty box and making life difficult for opponents. Enciso’s low centre of gravity means he can slip away from his markers quickly.
Therefore, it was no surprise that Libertad were the most prolific side in the division in 2022 with 35 goals and 24 assists. Enciso’s biggest asset is his electric pace and ability to breeze past defenders.
Final 1er tiempo
Nacional 0-1 #LIBERTAD
⚽️ Julio Enciso#AperturaAPF2021#VamosGUMA pic.twitter.com/TsNmxBLcwy
— Club Libertad (@Libertad_Guma) February 22, 2021
That means he is his team’s major threat during counterattacks. Teams are afraid to lose possession high up the pitch, knowing Enciso can turn the tide. He has regularly gone up against players much bigger in size, using his brilliant close control and ball retention skills.
Another interesting aspect of his game is how aware he is of the offside trap. Enciso makes diagonal runs, which are bent, ensuring that he stays onside for as long as possible. Given the swathes of energy and exuberance he exudes, Enciso is always a danger whenever Libertad have the ball.
Julio Enciso, la joya Gumarela en @Universo970py: "Llegué a los 13 años a #Libertad, jugué en la Sub 14, se había hecho una prueba en Caaguazú, Roberto Paredes me había visto y me trajo al Club". #VersusRadio @SomosVersusPY pic.twitter.com/MBOgTFYSCa
— Oscar Lial (@LialOscar) May 27, 2021
However, one clear area of improvement is his physicality. Enciso is still only 18, so there is plenty of time to get into shape.
Nevertheless, he has been bullied off the ball many times and is not adept at winning aerial duels. The physical aspect will be a point of focus at Brighton, given how competitive and challenging the Premier League is.
What makes him special
The talent and potential bubbling inside Julio Enciso are clear. He has the traits to succeed in the Premier League and Europe. The player has set big goals for himself, and it helps when you are learning from a Paraguayan great.
La primera costó G. 2.000
La última, no tiene precio. pic.twitter.com/3HjoZOfLwt
— PASAPELOTA 📸 (@PASAPEL0TA) June 10, 2022
Oscar Cardozo had a stellar career in Europe, especially with Benfica, and has taken Enciso under his wing. As Enciso himself stated,
“Cardozo has already gone through everything in his career, and he guides me on and off the field. Cardozo brings us his experience, wisdom, and little secrets. He is a relentless scorer and also is a great person; I am happy to have him by my side.”
The left-footed veteran knows a thing or two about success in challenging environments, which will undoubtedly challenge Enciso.
14/06/21 Gloria a Dios 🙏🏻😭 #CopaAmerica2021 pic.twitter.com/x0MrT7oEkK
— julio Enciso (@julioEnciso33) June 15, 2021
The defences are much more aware, and the markers are much harder to shake off. However, Enciso should ease into the setup well, given his willingness to learn and improve. Enciso has a great shot on him, even on his weaker foot, and will look to impress in training first up. Whether that translates to regular game time will be a seen later on.
Julian Enciso potential
Enciso has made a wise choice, going for Brighton. Potter has a history of working with young talents and developing them into excellent players. He has already done it with Tariq Lamptey, Yves Bissouma, Enock Mwepu, Marc Cucurella, Aaron Connelly, and Alexis Mac Allister amongst many others.
Gran gol de Julio Enciso que coloca al Gumarelo al frente del marcador.
📺 100 HD – Tigo
¡Disfrutá del #AperturaAPF2022 por Tigo Sports! pic.twitter.com/WrVjdZK1to
— Tigo Sports (@TigoSportsPY) April 21, 2022
Enciso will be inspired by the likes of Mpewu and Moises Caicedo, who have made a good start to their careers. He may see some action out on loan in his first season, given the Premier League is a daunting challenge for youth products from South America.
However, Enciso is shaping up to be one for the future, with Danny Welbeck entering his twilight. Brighton have a future superstar on their hands and will use him well.