Academy Players to Look Out for in the New Year: Rafa Camacho
The second player I’m going to highlight in this mini-series is Rafa Camacho. Camacho was signed for the academy from rivals Manchester City, in the 2016/17 season. The 18-year-old is a right-sided player but with his versatility, he is able to play as a right-back or a right-winger. Neil Critchley however primarily uses him as a right winger for the U23s.
Camacho is a Portuguese U20 international and has made 3 appearances for his National U20 side. He has been prolific throughout the youth levels for his country making a total of 30 appearances across all age levels, scoring 9 goals. The youngster is highly rated in his homeland and thus has been approached to go on loan to the capital, by Liga Nos giants Sporting Lisbon
The Portuguese youngster will have first come into the forefront with fans after his involvement of 2018 preseason. He was involved in 8 of Liverpool’s pre-season games in the USA and England. His attacking qualities were on display, as he managed a goal and an assist in these friendly matches. Dribbling was another quality he showed in these friendlies, sometimes beating players like they weren’t even there.
Pace his a key part of Camacho’s game and this helps him when going forward, but his defensive quality is also shown in the trust that Klopp has in him. As Liverpool had some injury troubles in the right back position, with Milner starting at right back, Klopp included Camacho on the bench for games against Burnley and Bournemouth to cover for right back. The fact Klopp trusted him to come in if he was needed, shows he’s more than capable defensively too.
In the Premier League 2 and UEFA Nations League, Camacho has been in very good form this season. In 15 appearances across both competitions, he has managed 7 goals and 8 assists. Averaging 1 goal contribution a game.
His good form for the U23s and U19s (UEFA Nations League), plus his inclusion on the bench on a couple of occasions indicates he may not be far away from the first team. A reason to keep an eye on him for the upcoming year as he could make an appearance in the first team between now and the end of the season.
Whilst he’s been in fine form for the U23s this hasn’t just been noticed by Klopp, but also by Sporting Lisbon as it was confirmed by Liverpool Echo a couple of days ago that they’ve approached Liverpool to take him back to his boyhood club. This could be a good option for him as at the age of 18 if he can show his talents at a competitive first-team level for a good side like Sporting Lisbon, he could be considered as a good option for the first team in the 2019/20 season.
Whether it’s on loan at Lisbon or his rise from the academy to the first team, fans should definitely keeping an eye on Rafa Camacho in 2019.