Scout - Divock Origi
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 Belgium's Divock Origi.
By Sky Sports Scout - @SkySportsScout
Last Updated: 26/05/14 10:10am
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 Belgium striker Divock Origi.
The Scout reports...
Belgium seem to have been dark horses for World Cup 2014 for so long that the tag really doesn't apply any more.
They're fifth favourites with Sky Bet for the tournament at the time of writing and are as short as 1/6 to qualify from Group H, which also contains Russia, South Korea and Algeria.
However, you could argue that their chances of enjoying a really successful run in Brazil have actually diminished as the big kick-off draws ever nearer.
Not only are they in line to face a strong nation like Germany or Portugal should they reach the last 16, but several of their key players have struggled for form at club level in recent months.
Marouane Fellaini, Jan Vertonghen and Thomas Vermaelen are hardly at the peak of their powers, while coach Marc Wilmots was hit with a significant blow when Christian Benteke ruptured his Achilles tendon in training with Aston Villa back in early April.
Wilmots will hope his star men can get themselves back up to speed in the forthcoming friendlies against Luxembourg, Sweden and Tunisia - and that Benteke's replacement, Divock Origi, can demonstrate why he's been called into the 23-man squad.
Origi's club coach at Lille, Rene Girard, does not consider the 6ft 1in forward - who only turned 19 a month ago - to be a like-for-like replacement for Benteke, explaining: "Divock is also strong, but has a different style."
Neverthless, Wilmots clearly sees the teenager as the best back-up option - even though Standard Liege's Michy Batshuayi, who is more established with the Under-21s than Origi, is the second top scorer in the Jupiler League this season with 21 goals. Another contender, Jelle Vossen, has 12 goals to his name and 12 senior caps too, but was also passed over in favour of Origi.
With Romelu Lukaku set to lead his attack, Wilmots has looked beyond out-and-out goalscoring ability and to the merits of Origi's all-round game. That's hardly surprising after a qualifying campaign that saw attacking midfielder Kevin de Bruyne finish as Belgium's top scorer in Group A, with no other player scoring more than two goals.
At Lille, Origi has shown he is particularly effective when drifting into wide positions, as he will happily take on a full-back in a one-on-one situation and attempt to trick his way past. He has a good first touch and often an even better second, allowing him to accelerate away on the dribble - and he's not shy to throw in a stepover or two should the chance present itself.
As the season has progressed, Origi's awareness has noticeably improved and he can effectively hold the ball up with his back to goal and shield the ball from persistent defenders. Having initially played as a defensive midfielder, he retains a passion for the physical side of the game and will get stuck in in order to win the ball back.
Origi has strong footballing heritage as his father Mike was an Kenya international who won the Belgian top-flight title with Racing Genk in 1999. Divock's uncles played league football back in their homeland, while his cousin Arnold is a goalkeeper who has won over 25 caps for the Kenyan national team and is currently on the books of Lillestrom in Norway.
Young Divock joined Genk's academy system and having been converted into a striker, he caught the eye of Lille and made the short move across the border shortly after his 15th birthday. He quickly moved up the Belgium youth-team ranks and began playing for their Under-19s in the autumn of 2012, despite being two years younger than many of his team-mates.
In February of the following year, Origi got his big break at club level - and took his chance with aplomb. With Lille 1-0 down at home to second-bottom Troyes, Origi came off the bench in the second half to make his Ligue 1 debut. Just six minutes later, the Stade Pierre-Mauroy crowd was on its feet to salute a new goalscoring hero. Dimitri Payet looked up from the left wing and spotted Origi arriving unmarked at the far post - a perfect delivery was swung over and the striker headed powerfully downwards and in to claim a 1-1 draw for his team.
At the age of 17 years and 10 months, that goal meant he became the third youngest scorer in the history of Ligue 1 - and he was given nine more 15-to-20-minute spells as a substitute by coach Rudi Garcia at the end of that season.
However, he didn't score again as Lille finished sixth, missing out on European football - and there was further disappointment for Origi that summer as the U19s failed to take home-soil advantage in the elite round of qualifying for UEFA's annual European U19 Championship, and subsequently missed out on the finals in Lithuania.
However, he began 2013/14 under the tutelage of a new club coach in Girard and with a winning goal on the opening weekend. Partnering Salomon Kalou up front at home to Lorient, he seized on Marvin Martin's 13th-minute pass and ran through to confidently side-foot home from the top of the box.
Origi kept his place for the next match at Reims, but Lille lost 2-1 - and then followed 14 straight appearances as a substitute in league games. Meanwhile, at international level, he scored twice for the U19s as they won their round-robin group to reach the elite round of the U19 Euros once more.
His fast-track towards the World Cup finals began in earnest in February when he was selected to start against Sochaux - and scored after just three minutes with a close-range flicked header following a goalmouth scramble. Lille went on to win that game 2-0 and eight days later, Origi scored a classy equaliser in a 2-2 draw at Evian. Picking up the ball wide on the left, he jinked down the wing and then infield to the top of the box, where two stepovers fooled Denmark right-back Daniel Wass before he bent a shot around goalkeeper Bertrand Laquait.
Origi won his only Belgium Under-21 cap to date in a Euro 2015 qualifying clash against Serbia in early March (Belgium lost 3-0 to the Group 9 leaders in Leuven) but showed enough in his second-half substitute outing to catch Wilmots' eye. He then proceeded to tuck home a far-post leveller in Lille's 1-1 draw at Monaco in March, and recovered his balance after an initial slip before firing home the only goal of the game against Valenciennes last month, bringing his tally for the season to five. The World Cup call-up followed, and he finished the campaign by helping Lille to a third-place finish and a spot in the Champions League third qualifying round for 2014/15.
The Scout says...
Origi has already been tentatively linked with both Arsenal and Liverpool in the last month and though he might not end up receiving a great amount of playing time in Brazil, the fact the 19-year-old has come from nowhere to make their final 23-man squad shows he is currently on a meteoric rise. He has exceptional balance and poise on the ball and even if his final delivery is sometimes disappointing, there is huge potential here. Lille have produced exceptional talents in the shape of Yohan Cabaye and Eden Hazard in recent seasons, plus defenders Mathieu Debuchy and Lucas Digne, and Origi may be the next to hit the big time. Lille fans will hope to hang onto him for a little while yet - but any impact appearances for Belgium this summer could lead to further transfer speculation.
The Scout rating...
Shooting: 8 out of 10
Passing: 7 out of 10
Tackling: 6 out of 10
Heading: 8 out of 10
Pace: 9 out of 10
Vision: 7 out of 10
Current ability: 7 out of 10
Potential ability: 10 out of 10
Overall Scout rating: 62/80
Current value: £6million
Potential value: £28million
You've read the Scout's report on Divock Origi - now we want your views. Have you seen Origi 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.