Well-travelled striker Eduardo Vargas equalised for Chile against Argentina in their opening Copa America tie before going off injured in the 77th minute. It was time for Blackburn striker Ben Brereton to make his debut for the national side.
The enthusiastic striker from Stoke-on-Trent chose to represent Chile, the country of his mother and introduced himself to the international stage for the final 13 minutes of the tie.
Having scored seven goals in 40 games for Blackburn last season, his inclusion in the Chile squad was quite an eye-catching moment for fans of English football. Having represented England at U19 and U20 level, he decided that his future lay with the South American nation.
Brereton Makes His Chile Debut
Entering the field with ‘Brereton Diaz’ on the back of his shirt, the six-foot-tall striker provided a different prospect for the Argentinean defence from the diminutive Vargas.
After intercepting a free kick in his own box, Brereton was able to eventually start a dangerous counter attack down the right-hand side for Chile. His movement was good and his pass through to Jean Meneses was well-weighted. He broke forward into the Argentine box, but the pass was unable to find him.
He worked hard along the front line, putting defenders under pressure and using his physical strength to try and hold up the ball. In stoppage time he received the ball on the corner of the Argentina penalty area and looked to run at three defenders and was eventually halted after some good trickery.
It was good for Brereton to get his debut under his belt and look to gel with the squad more going forward. He provides a physically different option to Martin Lasarte going forward compared with the other centre forwards in the squad.
At only 22 and having left Nottingham Forest for seven million pounds to Blackburn, there is a lot of potential seen in the forward. There will be changes to the system and tactics in the Chile side to accommodate his strengths and he too will have to learn to adapt to his new nations style of play.
Chile faces Bolivia next in the Copa America on Friday, June 18 and Brereton could be in line for more minutes on the field, especially after Vargas’s injury may require some resting.
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