Three things in life are certain, death, taxes and Valencia producing quality left-backs. The Spanish outfit have made a name for themselves when it comes to producing players at this specific position, the reason as to how and why they do it, is something we will probably never come to conclude. But in the meantime, we could still appreciate talents like Jordi Alba, Juan Bernat, Alex Grimaldo and José Gayà. Next up through the ranks could be a certain 20-year-old Spaniard that goes by the name of Álex Centelles. Could he reach the heights of his predecessors? Well, let’s find out a bit more about him first, shall we?
Player Profile | Álex Centelles
Date of Birth (Age): August 30, 1999 (20)
Place of Birth: Valencia
Current Team: Valencia CF
Preferred Foot: Left
Contract expires: 30.06.2023
Who is Álex Centelles?
Born in Valencia, Spain, Álex Centelles joined his hometown club’s academy at the tender age of eight. He would spend a whole decade at the same academy before being promoted to Valencia’s U19 squad, where he only spent one full season. The left-back was then move to Valencia’s B Team, more commonly known as Valencia Mestalla. It was there where he caught the eye of many, mostly those in charge of Valencia’s senior team. As a result, the youngster was called up for Valencia CF’s pre-season tour, making a couple of appearances in friendlies. He has, since then, been loaned out to FC Famalicão, playing in Portugal’s Liga NOS. Apart from club appearances, the youngster will also be looking to add to his 2 caps with Spain’s U19’s.
What is his style of play?
Álex Centelles is mostly known for his ability to go forward whenever possible, playing quick one-twos and overlapping players along the way. This gives his team the ability to create devastating counter-attacks from the left side of the pitch. The player often embraces the opportunity to run at opposing players whenever possible, knowing that he can frequently leave them for dead in a foot race. That being said, he is not a formidable dribbler hence this part of his game is always a risk for his team, especially when they are caught on the back-foot.
Away from the attacking prowess that Centelles possesses, the left-back also boasts great defensive displays, almost every match. This is obviously due to him mainly being a defender, first and foremost. The youngster is comfortable playing on both an offensive and/or a defensive side, and could easily adapt through transitions of the game where a change of mentality is needed, that is, switching form defending to attacking and vice-versa.
What are his strengths?
At first glance, the 1.85 metre Spaniard would seem like a player who would struggle to chase a player down. On the contrary, the youngster possesses very great speed, along with adequate acceleration, both of which help him in many aspects of the game. As mentioned previously, with such pace, the defender is able to bomb down the left flank at hefty speed, causing all sorts of problems to the opposition. At the same time, he is also capable of handling offensive players by matching them stride-for-stride, making it almost impossible to go past him just by running at him.
The previously-mentioned strengths are complimented by his ability to move quickly and easily, that is he is naturally agile. Another advantage to his overall game is his off-the-ball awareness and work-rate. Alex can always be found at the right place, at the right time in any situation of the game, giving his team-mates an option or else freeing up space by making runs.
What are his weaknesses?
Worryingly the defender lacks in concentration and anticipation. Both attributes are crucial to a defender hence he will obviously need to improve in those areas soon. Although not as important as the aforementioned, heading is another aspect of his game where he does struggle. Often losing aerial challenges against attacking players, he is a vulnerable target for long balls coming from the opposition half. Unsurprisingly, Álex Centelles is not as aggressive as you would want your left-back to be. He is frequently exposed during physical battles along the match. It is however an attribute which can improve with experience and game-time.
Current season (19/20)
Álex Centelles was involved in 12 matches, this season alone, and has made his place at left-back with the Portuguese team. The Spaniard has played all the minutes available to him, proving that he is well-ready for intense, first-team football.
Currently standing in 4th place, FC Famalicão will be looking to move further up the table, meaning that more high-quality performances will be expected from the young full-back. Their position also further solidifies the Spaniard’s determination to succeed, surprising everyone with their high standing. He is mostly played as a defensive left-back, and has two goal contributions, both of them being assists.
With him putting a string of great performances, and the team fighting its way up the table, this season could be a huge one for the Spaniard. The question on everyone’s mind would be, could they collectively keep this up?
Overall Career Analysis
With 88 club appearances coming in a span of three years, Álex Centelles is fast building a reputation for himself, not only nationally but amongst Europe as well. The player has shown glimpses of what he could be with some stand-out performances. He is increasingly maturing in his position, and will undoubtably continue to do so for the rest of the season.
As per Transfermarkt:
- 16/17: Valencia CF Youth to Valencia U19
- 17/18: Valencia U19 to Valencia B
- 19/20: Loaned out to Famalicão.
So far, Álex Centelles has enjoyed a fruitful youth career, steadily moving up through Valencia’s ranks. With the team deciding to loan him out for a chance at first-team football, they clearly believe that the player is ready to make the next step in the near future. Will it be at Valencia though?
Potential – Our View + Transfer Forecast/Future Moves
Transfer Forecast/Future Moves
If Álex Centelles can cut it in the Portuguese League at this age, he surely has the potential to perform at even more competitive leagues.
A club of the same level of Valencia CF would be an ideal move for the young Spaniard. Namely Atletico Madrid, a club competing annually for both Spanish League and the UEFA Champions League, which would provide any player with invaluable experience. It is also a club known to develop youngsters, both Spanish and non-domestical.
Almost every Spanish player’s dream would be that of playing with either Real Madrid CF or FC Barcelona. Hence it would be of no surprise to us if the Spaniard does make the big move to one or the other. Playing time would be a huge doubt, however it could prove to be of very great experience.
Manchester City would sound an impossibility wouldn’t it? Well, if you look closely to the team, you would notice that they have been struggling at the left-back position for a couple of seasons. With Benjamin Mendy unable to find fitness and Zinchenko unable to be consistent, it seems to be a reasonable move for the youngster.
- Field Insider Suggestion
All the above do look like tempting moves, however we would suggest that the player remains at Valencia for the time being. There he is will be guaranteed first-team game time, as well as European football, depending on where the team finishes.
Our View (Summary)
If Álex Centelles continues to impress at this stage of his career, we have no reason to believe that he should not reach the very top. A left-back at Valencia never seems to wrong nowadays, and with the right guidance, neither should this left-back. Who knows? Does he have it in him? Can he go a step further than former Valencia man, Jordi Alba?