Despite being nicknamed “little lucas” as a kid in the streets of Quilmes, Argentina, Lucas Ocampos is towering above the rest in the race to be one of South America’s hottest prospects.
The 17-year-old currently plays with River Plate and stuck with them despite their relegation to the second tier of Argentine football but is attracting a wealth of European interest for his signature and could follow the likes of Lucas Piazon across the atlantic into European territory.
Just over two years ago, Ocampos was spotted by the River scouts whilst playing against them. He netted a brace and River Plate immediately knew they had to sign this kid.
His recent performances have caused a huge buzz across the world and some people are going as far as to label him the next Cristiano Ronaldo – and they have no reason why they should be wrong.
At 187cm, Ocampos is a tall lad for his age. He uses his head very well but also matches this with incredible speed. The left winger’s superb physique and excellent dribbling ability are two of the many reasons why he is wanted all across the globe for his talents and potentially world-class ability.
Ocampos occassionally plays as a striker and therefore sometimes abuses his defensive duties. He must learn that at senior level he cannot afford to ignore his role at the other end of the pitch and as a left winger he must learn to be involved in all aspects of the game.
He also needs to work on his crossing with his left foot and learn to be more consistent. Much like Cristiano Ronaldo, Ocampos likes to cut inside to produce a pass or a shot and therefore rarely gets time in the corner to produce crosses considering his regular position. Once Ocampos has nailed these skills he could become a regular in any side in the world.
Playing in this season’s Primera B Nacional is a great opportunity for the youngster. River’s relegation means that he is not under pressure to perform on the biggest stage in Argentine football, but still plays at a decent-enough standard to get regular games and noticed for his contributions.
Ocampos is definitely one to keep an eye on in 2012 but I predict that we shall not see him moving continents until 2013 at the earliest. River’s predicted promotion this season should give him a chance in the top domestic flight before he is ready to make a switch.
Stick with The Youth Radar for all the latest updates on Ocampos and his progress this season.