June 25, 2021

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FIFA World Cup 2022 – News – Brian Rodriguez comes of age

9 min read
FIFA World Cup 2022™ - News - Brian Rodriguez comes of age
  • Rodriguez is one of the promising younger skills Uruguay are banking on
  • Winger has three objectives in 9 video games with La Celeste
  • He talks about maturing as a participant, the nationwide workforce and World Cup qualifiers

In 2016 shortly after Brian Rodriguez had joined Penarol, Uruguayan legend Jose Perdomo, who had introduced him to the Montevideo membership, famously dubbed him locura (insanity). “He was 15 years old and had a rocket in his head; he was a madman,” mentioned the previous Celeste midfielder – a Copa America champion in 1987 and participant on the 1990 FIFA World Cup Italy™.

By the time Rodriguez joined Major League Soccer (MLS) facet Los Angeles FC (LAFC) for a membership file charge three years later, followers have been calling him Rayito (Little Lightning). While the primary nickname alluded to his unstable temperament, the second targeted on his electrifying play, which mixes pace and dexterity, the power to open up groups on both flank and his scoring capacity.

And it was the emergence of this extra mature participant that satisfied nationwide workforce boss Oscar Tabarez handy him his senior workforce debut in 2019 after which identify him in his beginning XI for the opening qualifiers of the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022™.

In dialog with FIFA.com, the participant explains his journey and transformation. “First of all, I found the move from Tranqueras to Montevideo quite tough. I grew up in a small town and was very restless. By five, I was already misbehaving, so a teacher suggested to my parents that I take up football to expend some energy. I was a lazy student,” says Rodriguez, who at the moment performs for Spanish outfit Almeria.

“Afterwards, I struggled to adapt to the rigours of professional life. When I was 17, I made my top-flight debut and joined a squad of adults, who made no mistakes. By contrast, I made a lot of them and experienced many things all at once that I couldn’t handle. Luckily, several of my club-mates talked to me and helped me mature,” provides the Uruguayan who will flip 21 on 20 May.

During that interval, he was missed for the 2019 South American U-20 Championship, regardless of having represented Uruguay at youth degree for a number of years. However, his improvement at Penarol, the place he contributed two objectives and 4 assists as his facet claimed the Apertura title, wherein he was named Best Young Player, paved the way in which for his inclusion within the squad for that 12 months’s FIFA U-20 World Cup in Poland.


Brian Rodriguez of Uruguay celebrates scoring his sides second goal during the 2019 FIFA U-20 World Cu

© Getty Images

There, Rodriguez was one of La Celeste’s main gamers, weighing in with two objectives and an help in 4 video games, as his facet reached the final 16. “The disappointment of not going to the South American Championship was offset by representing my country at a World Cup, which is incomparable and the most important event.”

Shortly after that got here his transfer to MLS facet LAFC, one other large change however one he insists was much less traumatic for a easy cause: “I already had a mental coach, and that helped me on a personal level to adapt to another country, to a big city like Los Angeles, to another language, and to playing with people from many other cultures.”

Despite his progress, he was nonetheless a bit shocked when Tabarez gave him his first name-as much as the senior workforce in August 2019 for his or her friendlies in Costa Rica and the United States. “I’d left home for training that day and my girlfriend texted me a picture of the squad list. I didn’t know whether to laugh or cry! I remember glancing through the list but with no expectation of seeing my name. I hadn’t envisaged playing for the team at such a young age. I wasn’t long in Los Angeles and hadn’t nailed down a starting place in the national team, so I thought I’d first have to start playing and then see.”

The prospect of sharing a dressing room with many of the gamers he’d admired as a fan was additionally an expertise in itself. “I arrived in Costa Rica just before lunch, went upstairs to put on the team clothes, but then I didn’t want to come down! The boss sent one of his assistants to get me and when I eventually saw him everything went a bit fuzzy. I was as nervous as I was happy.”

On the pitch, nonetheless, he seemed very a lot comfortable, beginning each video games and scoring his first objective within the USA fixture. The strike was a trademark Rodriguez transfer: powering in from the left flank, he dribbled previous a defender earlier than unleashing an unstoppable left-foot drive. “I rocked up with damp gunpowder, but it all worked out in the end.”

During the subsequent worldwide break that October, he scored his second objective, this time together with his proper foot after chopping in from the identical facet. Then a month later, he fulfilled one other dream: attending to know Luis Suarez and Edinson Cavani, with whom he shared attacking duties in a pleasant in opposition to Hungary. What’s extra, the previous even supplied him with the help for his third objective in 5 video games.

“Do you know what it’s like to play with your idols? It’s easy! And off the field too – they’re like anyone else, very normal. What’s more, Suarez beat me on the PlayStation and drove me crazy. I might have to complain about him winding me up!” he jokes.

Tabarez, in the meantime, was beneficiant in his reward of the winger. “I have a lot of faith in players who come back from difficult times, who reinvent themselves and show a new dimension. He’s seized the chance he’s been given. We didn’t have a player with that kind of pace, someone with the ability to strike the ball well with either foot who can prove decisive in the final third.”

So together with his kind good in Los Angeles, it was no shock to see him begin the World Cup qualifying video games in opposition to Chile (2-1) and Ecuador (2-4). “They were tough games as expected. There was a time when I assumed that if we could beat Ecuador in Montevideo, then we’d beat them in Quito too. But when you go there, you realise it’s very different. A lot of things can influence these games.”

Rodriguez didn’t play of their win in Colombia (3-0) however got here off the bench within the defeat to Brazil (0-2). With six factors, Uruguay at the moment occupy fifth place (the play-off spot) within the ten-workforce group. “We’d hoped to be higher up, but it’s not bad. We beat Chile, which is hard to do, and defeated Colombia in Barranquilla. These qualifiers are fierce and are never easy for us.”


Brian Rodriguez of Uruguay fights for the ball with José Pedro Fuenzalida of Chile

© Getty Images

With the subsequent qualifying rounds and the Copa America simply across the nook, Rodriguez accepts the obligations they create, however with one proviso. “We’re a small country, but very big in footballing terms. And because we’ve been doing well, there’s an expectation of good results. However, I prefer not to feel superior to anyone else.”

Ahead of these nationwide workforce duties, Rodriguez is focusing absolutely on his membership ones. His mortgage spell at Almeria, the place he’s been because the begin of the 12 months however not had a lot taking part in time, ends in June, and he nonetheless does not know if he’ll keep there, return to Los Angeles or change course. “I’m fine here and I like the project. For now, I’m just focusing on winning promotion to the Primera. We’ll see later what happens.”

For all that, he admits to dreaming of reaching Qatar 2022. “At the last World Cup, we had a lot of young players in our side, and I realise that I now have the chance to be at the next edition, which motivates me to keep working. It’s a goal I have firmly in mind and those are my plans,” he concludes.

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