The gem of the Groningen academy, Juninho Bacuna impressed last season after breaking into the first team and will look to continue his development under new boss Ernest Faber.

  • By Michael Bell
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The 18-year-old is the younger brother of former Groningen youth graduate Leandro Bacuna, who currently plays with Aston Villa. Leandro was a hit in the Euroborg, but there is a lot more excitement around Juninho who is considered a bigger talent than his brother.

At the start of the 2014/15 season, Bacuna starred for Groningen’s U21 side, scoring a hat-trick the first game of the season, and his performances caught the eye of coach Edwin van de Looi. In February 2015, Bacuna was handed his Eredivisie debut in a 2-2 draw with Heracles, and appeared another eleven times from the bench before the end of the season.

Last season Bacuna began the season back with the U21’s and sitting on the Groningen bench, but eventually became a first team regular and started eight of the clubs last 13 games.

Style of play

Bacuna is a versatile player having already been utalised in several positions by Groningen despite his young age. He started out as a striker and winger, but has been moved into the middle of the pitch and his future should lie in either the number 8 or 10 position. His main strength is his dribbling ability, but he also has great vision and technique on the ball, while off it he works tenaciously to regain possession.

Bacuna will need to work on his distribution next season and will look to score his first league goal for the club and add more assists, having only contributed two in 33 first teamĀ games.

What to expect from Bacuna this season

Bacuna will look to continue his form from the end of last season and maintain his starting spot under new coach Ernest Faber. Bacuna is already seen as one of the most talented young players in the Eredivisie and this season he will look to usurp his brother and prove he has a bright future at a top European club.

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