22 Striker RB Salzburg Peru
Yordy Reyna came through the ranks at Alianza Lima in the Peruvian capital and quickly impressed. He played fairly regularly and grabbed the attention of the notoriously eagle-eyed scouts of Red Bull Salzburg. He moved to Austria in 2013 but he’s been ‘eased in’, to apply a generous euphemism.
Reyna was sent out on loan to FC Liefering, a Red Bull farm club in Austria’s second division, and last year to SV Grödig in the top flight. The beginning of 2015 saw him moved on once more. He spent the first half of the year at RB Leipzig in Germany, trudging along a well trodden path for Salzburg’s phalanx of young talent.
2015 has been…
A testing time for enthusiastic trackers of the Lesser Spotted Yordy Reyna. The Peruvian forward only played 678 minutes for Leipzig in 2. Bundesliga, split between six starts and seven substitute appearances after his switch in the January window. Nevertheless, he’s back with his parent club this season and he is starting to find his feet.
He’s far from a guaranteed starter – sometimes he doesn’t even make the matchday squad – but Reyna has taken his place in the starting eleven five times this term. He’s been substituted in all of those games and has come on as a substitute in another five.
Salzburg is, after all, a very competitive place for a young forward to be. Jonatan Soriano is a formidable colleague to dethrone and the likes of fellow young bucks Takumi Minamino, Valentino Lazaro and a handful of others tend to take up the support slots to the Red Bull talisman.
When he does play, dreadlocked or not, Reyna is seriously rapid. His party trick is best described as a “lung-busting run” and is enabled by his exceptional pace in combination with the stocky stature that allows him to get low and run, the ball under his spell with every touch. Upper body strength is one of his key attributes, not to mention his willingness to stick in a naughty foot when it counts.
He’s all little legs and limitless energy, a genuine menace, and he works the channels tirelessly. He reads the flight of the ball well and his touch is mostly competent, although he occasionally struggles to get it under control when he should do better. He keeps the ball calmly and doesn’t do anything too ambitious with his passing.
It’s always difficult to decide whether Red Bull is a good or bad place for the development of young players. Some kids really thrive there but others might benefit from a move out of the system; Reyna probably falls into the latter category.
But, for now, his focus is on recovering from injury. He sustained damage to his knee in December and is expected to be on the sidelines for a couple of months. It’s cruel timing for a player who’d just started showing signs of taking steps into the first team thinking of his club.
Internationally the caps will keep coming. Reyna made his Peru debut in 2013, aged 19, and now has two goals in 18 appearances. It’s counter-intuitive but this is one young player whose international performances might be the key to better club fortunes.
D Struggling for playing time in a team full of prodigious youngsters
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