UEFA.com’s weekly wonderkid: Joel Asoro

This week’s wonderkid is a 17-year-old forward who has made his club and Sweden Under-21 debuts in the last three weeks.

Name: Joel Asoro
Club: Sunderland
Debut: 21 August 2016 v Middlesbrough
Position: forward
Nationality: Swedish
Born: 27 April 1999
Preferred foot: right

They say …
“I’d say for a 17-year-old – if it was me watching him for the first time – this boy has got something.”
Sunderland manager David Moyes

“You can all now see why I selected him. The way he finds space and the speed and control he has on the ball …”
Sweden Under-21 coach Håkan Ericson after Sweden–Spain on 5 September

Background …
Like many players from the Stockholm area, Asoro came through the ranks at Brommapojkarna. His exploits at youth level for Sweden – 12 goals in 17 games – made him a target for some of Europe’s leading clubs, among them Manchester City and United, Chelsea and Juventus. Last summer, aged 16, he moved to Sunderland with his mother.


Playing style …
Asoro wastes little time in trying to get into the penalty box and finish, which he can do with either foot. He ran the England defence ragged at the UEFA European Under-17 Championship in Azerbaijan in May, scoring twice in a 2-1 victory for Sweden.

Shades of …
A young Thierry Henry with his blistering pace and eye for goal.

Eureka moment …
His senior debut against Middlesbrough four weeks ago. Until then, he was largely unknown in Sweden and the north-east of England.

Best-case scenario …
David Moyes has never been afraid to give youth a chance – Wayne Rooney’s emergence at Everton under the Scot is testimony to that. Asoro may be some way from becoming a Sunderland regular, but he will surely get more minutes as the campaign unfolds.

He says …
“David Moyes talked to me a lot and I’ve learnt a lot since he’s come in, and it’s also been a great experience training with Jermain [Defoe], who keeps telling me to work hard.”

“I just need to be ready and keep working on the training pitch, taking any opportunities that come my way in my stride.”


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