World Cup Scout
The Sky Sports Scout has been keeping an eye on rising talent for several seasons, and has already found many players who have gone on to become big hits. This will be no different at the World Cup and here, in association with Wyscout, the Scout looks at Uruguay's Jose Maria Gimenez.
By Sky Sports Scout - @SkySportsScout
Last Updated: 30/05/14 6:41pm
In the build-up to the World Cup finals, the Sky Sports Scout will be taking a closer look at up-and-coming players staking a claim for national-team action this summer.
The Scout is on the hunt for talented stars of tomorrow who could shine in Brazil and make a name for themselves on the biggest stage.
Using the world's leading scouting resource Wyscout (for more information, read our full feature here), he will seek to highlight each selected player's key qualities and provide some additional background knowledge.
Some of the youngsters chosen will be contenders for FIFA's Best Young Player Award at the World Cup, won in previous tournaments by Germany duo Thomas Muller (2010) and Lukas Podolski (2006). Those born on or after 1 January 1993 are eligible for this honour.
You can nominate a player by emailing here, and please check our archive to make sure we have not already covered the player). You can also interact with the Scout via his Twitter feed, @SkySportsScout.
On the Scout's radar in this report is Uruguay defender Jose Maria Gimenez.
The Scout reports...
Uruguay coach Oscar Washington Tabarez must lose two players from his provisional party before the World Cup squads deadline - and teenage centre-back Jose Maria Gimenez will be praying his dream of playing on the world's biggest stage is not ended so close to the big kick-off.
Gimenez is looking to snatch one of the defensive berths available in Tabarez's squad alongside his Atletico Madrid team-mate Diego Godin, from whom he has learnt so much in the last year at the Vicente Calderon and also whilst on international duty.
Godin looks set to start at the back for Uruguay, probably alongside the experienced Diego Lugano - now out of contract after a year at West Brom - while the full-back spots should be filled by Benfica's Maxi Pereira and Juventus' Martin Caceres.
However, the back-up option slots are up for grabs - and Gimenez is pushing to persuade Tabarez that he deserves to be taken to Brazil. He is playing catch-up in some respects, having joined the squad late along with Godin and Cristian Rodriguez due to Atletico's season extending to the Champions League final in Lisbon. But with Liverpool centre-back Sebastian Coates still working his way back from a serious knee injury, Gimenez has every chance of being there.
Those who saw Gimenez in action at last year's Under-20 World Cup in Turkey - a tournament which Uruguay came within a whisker of winning - will recall his qualities. His positional play is outstanding for one so young; whether it's shielding the ball from a persistent striker, intercepting a pass off an opposition player's toes or producing a covering slide tackle at a crucial moment, the 6ft 1in defender never seems to look flustered.
He played in all seven games in Uruguay's run to the final in Istanbul, where they were beaten on penalties by France following a 0-0 draw. Juan Verzeri's U20s only conceded three goals, and much of that solidity was owed to Gimenez. With a burst of acceleration as well as a stocky build, the youngster's recovery allows him to charge down shots and make blocks - but mostly he is already alert to any danger.
'Character, strength and discipline'
When Gimenez signed for Atletico last April from Uruguayan outfit Danubio, the Madrid club's president Enrique Cerezo spoke of his delight with his new teenage recruit.
"Jose Maria complies perfectly with the profile of player we are looking to shore up the team," said Cerezo. "He represents everything good about Uruguayans: character, strength and discipline."
Gimenez was aged 17 years and seven months when he was first included in Danubio's squad for a league game, and after the three-times champions changed their coach, he got a taste of action from the bench before making his full debut in November 2012, playing the full 90 minutes in a 2-0 defeat to Montevideo's River Plate in the Uruguayan Primera Division.
Danubio endured a dreadful Apertura in 2012/13, but Gimenez was in the side that claimed their first win of the season in December - and their form improved dramatically in the Clausura, in which they were fifth. He ended up making 14 starts and two substitute appearances and come the end of the campaign, Atletico announced they were taking him to the Spanish capital for 1million euros.
Former Spain midfielder Jose Luis Caminero, now Atletico's director of football, said of Gimenez: "He is a natural talent, a fast defender who uses the ball well. He a good marker and classy on the ball."
Following his U20 adventures, Gimenez received his first senior call-up for the penultimate double-header in South American World Cup qualifying in September of last year. Unused against Peru, he was then thrown in from the start against the deadly Colombian strike force of Falcao and James Rodriguez - but he proved his worth, shutting them both out as the Montevideo hosts won 2-0 at the Estadio Centenario.
Just four days later, a fever struck down Atletico defender Joao Miranda, meaning Gimenez was needed to make his La Liga debut alongside Godin against Almeria - and he came out on top again as the Rojiblancos won 4-2.
Gimenez won further senior caps in the final CONMEBOL qualifiers against Ecuador and Argentina, and was in the squad for the two-legged play-off victory over Jordan. Due to Atletico's fine form, club action was hard to come by although he did feature in the Copa del Rey before a calf injury hindered his Atleti progress.
In March, however, he reminded Tabarez of his burgeoning quality when he came off the bench to replace Lugano after half an hour of the 1-1 friendly draw with Austria in Klagenfurt. Uruguay were trailing 1-0 but Gimenez kept the defence tight and assisted with the second-half equaliser. Following a corner, the 19-year-old headed firmly down into the Austrian penalty area, causing panic - and the ball was eventually turned home by Alvaro Pereira.
The Scout says...
With Tabarez poised to wield the axe, it's a nervous time for Gimenez - but even if he fails to make the final cut on this occasion, there should be plenty more opportunities to play at a World Cup in the future. He certainly needs to see more club action next season so a loan move may suit both him and Atletico - perhaps a switch to a smaller Spanish club, or maybe even a year in Portugal. It's easy to forget that Gimenez doesn't even turn 20 until next year and with the outstanding Godin as a role model, he's well on course to continue that great tradition of Uruguayan defending. "I like to fight for every ball as if it were the final minute," he is quoted as saying. "I'm never going to abandon ship and leave my team-mates." With that kind of mentality, the only way is up for Gimenez and Uruguay.
The Scout rating...
Shooting: 5 out of 10
Passing: 7 out of 10
Tackling: 8 out of 10
Heading: 8 out of 10
Pace: 8 out of 10
Vision: 6 out of 10
Current ability: 8 out of 10
Potential ability: 10 out of 10
Overall Scout rating: 60/80
Current value: £5million
Potential value: £14million
You've read the Scout's report on Jose Maria Gimenez - now we want your views. Have you seen Gimenez in action? Do you agree with the Scout's assessment? How do you rate his World Cup and future prospects? Get in touch, either using the form below, email or the Scout's Twitter feed - @SkySportsScout.