In our weekly Scout feature, we take a deep dive into an emerging player on track to become a footballing superstar before our very eyes.
This week’s edition focuses on Chelsea midfielder Faustino Anjorin, a player who recently dismantled Man Utd’s Under-23s with a virtuoso performance.
A member of the club’s youth set-ups dating back to Under-7s football, the 19-year-old has set pulses racing at every level.
Operating primarily as an attacking midfielder, Anjorin has already showcased his ability to be his side’s x-factor.
His mid-season promotion to the Under-23s last term became permanent this year following immediate success. Five goals and two assists have been notched in nine appearances for the Premier League 2 leaders this season, including a memorable display instrumental in Chelsea’s 6-1 demolition of Man Utd in December.
That performance led to recognition on the PL2’s December player of the month shortlist, and rubber stamped his impressive credentials after being handed his Champions League debut three weeks prior.
Why the hype?
First impressions of Anjorin would leave the uninitiated wondering what all the fuss is about.
His languid style gives the air of a man who is stuck in second gear, but it serves to mask the pace and explosiveness he will unleash when driving at defenders. When in full flow he’s as silky smooth as they come.
Already topping the six-foot mark and boasting an impressive physique to boot, Anjorin’s dribbling ability cannot be contained through the use of roughhouse tactics.
An inevitability of his level-headed demeanour, Anjorin is calm and composed on the ball. The nastiest of centre-halves or gale force winds would both fail to knock him from his rhythm.
He possesses every trick in the book, but woe betide the unfortunate defender who thinks they’re just for show.
A modern-day attacker cannot afford to be a passenger without the ball, and Anjorin is no slouch here. He gets through more than his fair share of defensive work and is never content with tracking back as a token effort to make up the numbers.
Reminds you of a young…?
His impressive physical stature has been compared to fellow Cobham graduate Ruben Loftus-Cheek. But in terms of playing style, Anjorin reminds us of Crystal Palace talisman Wilfried Zaha.
The flashy winger is a menace for backlines across the league and feeds off the uncertainty his sharp bursts of speed and mesmeric dribbling ability instils in defenders’ minds.
A consequence of committing opponents one-v-one is suffering an inordinate number of fouls. Zaha and Jack Grealish have found this out first-hand in recent years.
Those two have (for the most part) developed a thick enough skin to dust themselves off and pick themselves up without incident up when cynically hacked down. Anjorin must ensure he can do the same as his style will inevitably draw an abundance of fouls.
Anjorin operates primarily in central areas for Andy Myers’ Under-23s side. However, when handed 80 minutes versus Krasnodar in a Champions League debut that exceeded all expectations, Frank Lampard deployed the youngster on the left wing.
His versatility will hold him in good stead when further first-team opportunities arise.
Anjorin’s brace and two-assist performance against Man Utd’s Under-23s in December could not have showcased his broad assortment of talents any better.
The crushing victory ensured the Blues would round out the year atop the PL2 table. Additionally, it put fellow Scout alumni Hannibal Mejbri firmly in his shadow.
The Experts’ View
Anjorin’s impeccable full debut versus Krasnodar caught Lampard’s eye. However, the Blues boss did acknowledge (via Sports Illustrated) one aspect of his game that remains a “work in progress”
“In training he had shown us last season a real ability to step straight into the level in terms of his ability on the ball. He showed it today in the way he receives the ball. Also how he moves with it very quickly and his physical attributes to protect the ball. He’s had some fitness issues in terms of completing games at under-23 and youth team levels.
“That’s a work in progress with him but the more he trains with us the better he is. It’s a real good environment for him. With the injuries we have in the short term he will spend more time with us. He did very well tonight. It was a good debut and he grew into the game as it went along.”
Tell us something we don’t know…
When asked for a rapid-fire response by YouTube channel GAFFER for his dream midfield partners, Anjorin delivered a pair of names that might surprise.
Firstly, Lampard was cited – no shock there. But despite being in Chelsea’s system for his entire footballing life, the playmaker had other ideas. Indeed, when asked, he namechecked Arsenal icon Patrick Vieira and modern-day Man City great Yaya Toure.
No Claude Makelele or Michael Essien from the man named after Newcastle cult hero Faustino Asprilla.
Has been linked with?
Anjorin was given his second senior run-out this season as Chelsea swept Morecambe aside in the FA Cup Third Round.
His burgeoning talents spawned ‘quite a number of Premier League and Championship clubs’ to register interest in a loan swoop (according to Sports Illustrated)
However, further integration to the first-team appears a genuine possibility over the coming months. As such, Lampard has made the executive decision to oppose all loan approaches in the current window.
With Chelsea stuttering in the final third and fixtures set to come thick and fast, Anjorin could soon become the latest Cobham star to cement themselves in Lampard’s plans.
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