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Juventus’ new golden boy

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If one club could lay claim to experiencing the most highs and lows in the 2022-23 season, Juventus would undoubtedly have a good case. The Italian team were hit by a 15-point deduction after an investigation by the Italian Football Association’s sporting tribunal found the club to have inflated the money earned from transfers. However, the ban was later revoked for the season, with a new trial being called to re-evaluate all the initial investigation findings. Amid all this, the rise of Samuel Iling-Junior has gone under the radar.

The 19-year-old, who only made his professional debut in October, has already made a significant impact at the club. Juventus are currently in second after having their ban revoked and are also in the semi-final of the Europa League, which is a strong recovery and gives them a good base on which they can build from next season. And players like Samuel Iling-Junior will be expected to step up and provide the required performances for Juventus to recapture their crown in Serie A.

So, who is Samuel Iling-Junior, and how good is he?

Playing career so far 

Samuel Iling-Junior was born in Islington, Greater London, on October 4, 2003, and joined the Chelsea FC Development Squad at the age of eight. He would spend the next nine years at the club. His time at the club was the same when stars such as Richard Olise, Jude Soonsup-Bell, and Joe Haigh were playing for the club’s youth team.

Playing with some of the best players in the younger age groups greatly benefitted the player helping him improve his game massively. And, just like the case with many Chelsea youth graduates, Iling-Junior’s development was rapid as he was promoted to the under-19s aged 16.

However, like many of his peers, Iling-Junior knew it would be tough to progress further anywhere near the senior team at Stamford Bridge. This is why in 2020, he rejected a scholarship deal offered by Chelsea and joined Juventus on a three-year-long contract.

The teenager had joined Juventus because he wanted more minutes, and he got exactly that as he was sent straight to Juventus Next Gen, the reserve side of the senior football team.

Samuel Iling-Junior stats 

In his first season at Turin, Iling-Junior played 27 times for the reserve side. He scored four goals and provided seven assists helping the team finish third on the league table. The following season became an integral part of the team scoring ten goals and providing seven assists. In addition, Iling-Junior also made eight appearances in the UEFA Youth League scoring one goal and provided two assists.

The 2022-23 season began the same way for him as he continued to play for the reserves, but Juventus’ atrocious form at the start of the Serie A season earned him a call-up to the senior squad. He made his debut on October 21, 2020, against Empoli. In his next match, he would get his first assist when he set up Nicolo Fagioli for the game’s only goal. His first goal, though, would only come in May when he scored against Atalanta.

In his limited appearances, he has recorded a passing accuracy of 80.6 per cent. In addition, he has a dribble success ratio of 57 per cent and a duel success ratio of 42 per cent. While the sample size for the data is small, it shows that Iling-Junior is a player who is more than capable of playing in the top league.

Samuel Iling-Junior scout report 

A look at his heatmap from this season shows us that Illing Junior is a player who loves to play on the wings near the touchline to stretch the field as wide as possible In addition, he also prefers crossing the ball into the net rather than bringing it back to his weaker right foot and get inside the box.

One of the primary reasons for this is that Juventus prefer to play with a three-man backline which means that the winger becomes the sole player responsible for playing near the touchline. Iling-Junior is also blessed with brilliant dribbling skills, which, combined with his brilliant crossing ability, makes him a brilliant traditional winger.

During his days in Juventus’ reserves squad, the teenager played as a left back for some games, which helped him refine his defensive awareness. It also helped him understand when as a winger, he should track back and help his team out defensively and when to stay forward to take advantage of a counterattack.

Having said all that, the attacker does have his weakness, one of which is his ability to do anything with his weaker right foot. While he possesses a brilliant left foot, it gives the opposition the incentive to push him further wide and not allow him to have a free shot or cross at the goal with his strong foot knowing fully well he couldn’t muster the same power if he cuts back and gets the ball onto his right foot.

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What makes him special 

Samuel Iling-Junior is a player who, for nine years, played at Chelsea, a club whose tactical system is vastly different from that of Juventus. Despite that, the winger managed to adapt to the club’s demand which shows how quickly he can learn a new playing style within a short span of time.

And this is the skill that will be most important for him going forward. Remember, this is a Juventus side that is going to change a lot over the summer transfer window. And players like Illing Junior will be given ample opportunities to prove they could become an integral part of the team.

Samuel Iling-Junior transfer news 

With the performances that he has shown so far, Samuel Iling-Junior has undoubtedly attracted many suitors. However, Juventus know that they have a player on their hand who, with the right environment, could become their next big star player.

And unless a club comes with an astronomical transfer offer, Juventus would not even consider selling the player.

Saumy Deepak Tripathi
A Bayern Munich fan who is deeply in love with football statistics. Has a soft spot for goalkeepers! (well only he knows why). You’ll find him vibing on 70’s classic songs and spends an abnormal amount of time cooking.

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