During the current Copa America, the Chilean national team witnessed the arrival of an important player for the offensive deficiencies that still have: Ben Brereton, Chilean-English striker of Blackburn Rovers. The player, loved by the fans for his willingness to wear the shirt and for his attitude on the field, has been a revelation in football. The same phenomenon has happened with Gianluca Lapadula in Peru, an Italian striker of Peruvian mother who was naturalized and has scored three goals in the current tournament, thus generating an immediate affection of the fans.
The stories are similar, although Lapadula is 31 and Brereton is only 22. However, there are differences in the role of both players in their respective teams. Brereton, after scoring the goal against Bolivia, did not score again and much of it is due to the pettiness of his teammates. Lapadula, on the other hand, is totally compenetrado with the team, although he did not know Peru and still handles partially with the Spanish.
However, the main difference between what happens with Lapadula in the Peru national team and what happens with Brereton in la Roja is that Peruvian coach Ricardo Gareca not only gave the title to the Peruvian striker of Italian origin, but also gave him the backing to acquire a key tactical importance in his system of play. The elaboration and completion of the plays go through him. And he went from not knowing the team to being the second top scorer of the Copa America after Messi and the highest scorer of his team.
On the contrary, in the Chilean case, Lasarte ended up giving in most of the Copa America matches the title to Brereton, but without fully integrating him in tactical terms. In Peru’s matches you don’t see Lapadula desperately asking for the ball, because it’s just another piece of the game. Brereton, playing for Chile asks for it, marks the pass and requests the ball sometimes urgently. Peers rarely attend. And this shows once again the little weight in the dressing room of Martín Lasarte -expressed among other things in yielding with the players that led to Copa America and in the problems of discipline within the squad-, who does not highlight the importance of playing associatedly and collectively, beyond the consolidated names.
If the players don’t hand the ball to Brereton it’s because Lasarte hasn’t tactically integrated it as a centerpiece in the attack. In this sense, although it is true that Lapadula has been integrated into the Peruvian national team for longer, since he debuted in November and Brereton only in June for the Chilean, it is the coaches who must emphasize the importance of the associated game and integrate the new elements.
Let’s hope that the Uruguayan DT from now on will take into account the example of Lapadula to make a good integration to the Brereton squad so far in qualifying dates. The usual comfortable conclusion of saying “we have no lead” is nothing more than an excuse to keep trying the same exhausted formula, which in this instance left us out of the Copa America.
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