Filip Đuričić 21 Midfielder Benfica Serbia
2013 has been…
Cheeky. Why would you simply knock it past a defender and do him for pace when you can nutmeg him first to really make the point? Why would you roll it past the keeper to score when you can dribble around him or chip him to show your superiority? Why would simply trap the ball when you can take it on the outside of your foot as if it was nothing? Why would you dummy to try and buy some room when a series of elaborate step-overs will not only buy it but also keep the change?
This was basically the story of Filip Djuricic’s time at Heerenveen where he grew into an outstanding talent. In his 100 plus games in Holland he grew from an occasionally brilliant but most often frustrating youngster who needed to learn that impudence can only be earned through consistency, to a player capable of turning games on his own. His eye-catching style and flair for the elaborate always brought him followers, but once he managed to add some maturity and consistency to his natural talents the blue touch paper was really lit.
The inevitable transfer came in the summer after a standout season in the Eredivisie and it was Benfica who moved decisively. Several clubs retain an interest, Liverpool and Manchester United said to be chief among them, but the player has made no secret of his desire to one day play in Spain and the similarities in climate and playing style may well have been a factor in his decision to opt for Portugal. Since the move his form has dipped and playing time has been limited making it a year (to coin a cliché) of two halves. They’re yet to see the very best of him in Portugal but they shouldn’t rush to judgment yet, the talent will shine through in the end.
He needs to settle in his new surroundings and get some time on the pitch to earn some patience as he recovers his form. He may well frustrate in the short term as his natural style can look over elaborate if he’s not consistently pulling things off, but the talent remains and will come to the fore again we’re positive.
Internationally he’s very much part of the first eleven and already has plenty of games and goals for the full Serbian international side. A bright future awaits at all levels and his indifferent start to life with Benfica will be a character-building memory soon enough we’re sure. He may be a touch more highlight-reel than dogged worker but that’s no bad thing, football needs entertainers and it’s worth keeping an eye out for him if you see his name on a team sheet. A grade B for his last season with Heerenveen, a D for his start to life at Benfica, a C for the twelve months as a whole seems fair.
“One of the many youngsters dubbed 'the Cruijff of the Balkans', Djuricic wowed the Dutch crowd with superb performances. Technically perfect, a great dribbler and a well deserved transfer to Benfica followed, but struggles to get game time there” - Michiel Jongsma, Benefoot
C This could have been a B if he’d have established himself in Benfica’s first team but that will come in time we’re sure, far too gifted for it not to