The Red Bulls icon explained to Goal.com that the 18-year-old has world class potential but is likely frustrated with his limited starting opportunities this year.After not playing during the New York Red Bulls' 2-0 victory over FC Dallas, it is clear things haven’t gone to plan for Juan Agudelo.
Rewind a year. The 18-year-old inspired the imaginations of United States soccer fans across the country as he showed glimpses of his vast potential starring in New York’s early playoff exit and scoring in his national team debut against South Africa. This season, the forward has had a difficult time breaking into head coach Hans Backe’s starting lineup.
Red Bulls icon Juan Pablo Angel mentored Agudelo last year during Angel's final season with the club and believes that the forward is likely upset with his lack of playing time. However, Angel still believes the future is very bright for Agudelo.
“He’s a young kid and in the end of the day the sky is the limit,” Angel said to Goal.com. “I’m sure he’ll be very disappointed in the amount of playing time that he had this year.“
He added, “He’s one of the best prospects that this league has in the sport.”
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Due to the fact that he no longer has an inside view with the Red Bulls, Angel wouldn’t speculate on why Backe hasn’t featured the starlet this season. However, the Chivas USA forward said that fans need to be patient with Agudelo’s development.
“He’s obviously an equity, not just for the Red Bulls but for the league,” Angel explained. “He’s one of the young talents that you want to do well and you want to make sure that he’s being taken care of in the right way.”
Angel believes that Agudelo has the perfect tutor in Thierry Henry, who has lead the line for two of the best clubs in the world in Barcelona and Arsenal.
”He has one of the best players of all time training next to him on a regular basis and I’m sure he’s learning from him,” Angel said. “Teaching him the right things for him to become a world class player.”
Having spent half a decade in MLS, Angel is happy to see the league starting to produce top quality talent. He remembers his first year in the league and says that it has developed substantially since his arrival in 2007.
“We all knew about [the challenges of MLS]. We know that we came here to help the sport grow. And it has grown dramatically in the last four or five years since I’ve been here,” said Angel. “The league has gotten more competitive and it has done a good job of growing the sport throughout the country.
“In the near future people are going to be talking more about the league, that’s for sure. “
Juan Pablo Angel spoke with Goal.com as part of Adidas’ miCoach campaign, a speed cell microchip that can go on any shoe with laces to accurately time running statistics. The miCoach will be available in stores in December.