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Each time the world cup comes around, new stars are born, the transfer market goes crazy and the world is an open mic stage to stardom for every footballer involved. Who will be this year’s previously unidentified flying object and earn a big money transfer to one of Europe’s football powerhouses just like Colombia James Rodriguez did in Brazil 2012.
The Sensible Soccer World Cup blog will bring scouting know how direct from the battlefield of English Premier League recruitment directors and chief scouts. Our blog will be opening the lid on just who is being watched ahead of Russia’s six-week footballing bonanza.
Expected to be Panama's starting right-back at the 2018 Fifa World Cup, he joined the New York Red Bulls on loan from San Francisco last season but joined permanently in the off-season. Since the move he has established himself as the Red Bulls' first choice right-back, featuring in every game of their recent CONCACAF Champions League campaign in their run to the semi-finals. At just 22 years old, he has achieved 22 caps for Panama but remains a relatively unknown quantity outside of North and South America. Capable of playing as a right-back or centre-back, Murillo has averaged 1 key passes, 2.1 tackles and 2 clearances per game so far this MLS season with a pass success rate of 72.8%. This demonstrates his ability to get forward from the right-back position to contribute to the attack as his 0.7 crosses per game place him 4th highest for the Red Bulls this season.
With Panama facing Tunisia, England and Belgium in their World Cup group, their defensive solidity will be expected to be tested repeatedly. With Panama going into the competition with very little expectation, one World Cup win against Tunisia or taking points from England or Belgium would be perceived as a huge success. If Murillo can demonstrate his defensive capability against attackers such as Kevin De Bruyne, Romelu Lukaku, Dries Mertens and Harry Kane then European clubs may begin to take notice.