Sebastian Coates: Why the Uruguayan Will Be a Star for Liverpool
Liverpool have purchased a special player in Sebastian Coates. A lot of young players are as talented and some are even as physically imposing, but few can boast the experience and credentials that the Uruguayan can at such a young age. When you combine that experience, talent and physicality with the "winning attitude" so evident in Luis Suarez, Liverpool have bought themselves one of the hottest defensive prospects in world football.
At 6'6", (or around 199cm) Coates is a tower of a man. Not quite as wide as he is tall, Sebastian is still a strong defender who won't be out-muscled easily.
When you combine his physical attributes with an aggressive style of defending, both in the air and on the floor, you have a defender who will send fear rushing through the veins of most opposing strikers.
As he demonstrated at the Copa America, Coates won't hesitate to clear his lines. But importantly, he also has a great footballing brain.
When it's needed he has shown he won't hesitate to boot the ball away, but when his team aren't under pressure he's also demonstrated the ability to play the ball out of defense.
That poise will be imperative if Liverpool are to continue the high tempo pass and move system that saw them dominate Bolton Wanderers at the weekend.
The only real question surrounding him is over his pace.
With Liverpool favouring a high defensive line at the moment there is a lot of space in behind. Comparatively, at both Nacional and Uruguay the defensive line played relatively deep so whether he'll be caught out for a lack of pace remains to be seen.
His physicality and talent aside there are two big factors that separate him from others his own age—experience and attitude.
How many other players in the world can claim to have won a major international tournament like the Copa America, be named the young player of that same tournament and captained their club side at just 20 years of age?
Indeed, Sebastian's potential was realized early on when he made his debut for Nacional at 17 and started every game since then (barring suspension and international duty), picking up accolades and awards on the way.
His talent didn't go unnoticed either, Damien Commoli revealed to Liverpool's official website that he'd been tracking the defender for two years.
In the 2010-2011 season, his dominant displays saw Nacional earn the second best defensive record in the league.
Indeed, he brought those same displays to the national team and many who watched him this Summer could be forgiven for thinking they were watching a seasoned veteran.
Coates is the only current member of the Uruguay squad who's never lost a game whilst playing for them, which tells you something of his impact on the side.
As well as experience, Sebastian shares the same "winning attitude" that has made the Uruguayan national team legendary in the last two years and has seen the likes of Luis Suarez, Diego Lugano, Diego Forlan, Edison Cavani and Alvaro Perreira become the hottest prospects in world football.
When a country with a population of only 3 million reaches a World Cup semi-final and wins the Copa America, you know there has to be something special in the water.
That same "winning mentality" saw Luis Suarez captain Ajax at the age of 23. It's also the reason why Coates is known by many Uruguayans as "Luganito," as many see him as the natural successor to Diego Lugano—the current captain of the National team.
At £7 million, Coates arrival is a bargain and is probably Liverpool's best bit of business of the summer alongside the midnight robbery that saw Jose Enrique join for just £6 million.
Money aside, the big question is how long before one of Martin Skrtel, Jamie Carragher or Daniel Agger see themselves further down the pecking order?
With the talent, experience, youth and attitude Coates brings, surely it's only a matter of time before he's starting regularly in Kenny Dalglish's side.
Liverpool have bought themselves a young player with more experience than you'd expect, who has that special "Uruguayan winning attitude" and already plays like a seasoned veteran. He's tall and strong, a good defender and capable of playing the ball out from the back. All in all it's a great buy by Damien Commoli and Kenny Dalglish, and Coates looks like he'll go on to have a big impact at Anfield.
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