His young aces at Academia de Almendra de Concepcion have been tipped to follow in the footsteps of big name players
EX-CHILE midfielder Patricio Almendra is targeting a link-up with a Premier League club after his stunning success in South America.
His kids at “Academia de Almendra de Concepcion” have been tipped to follow in the footsteps of Sanchez, Arturo Vidal and Claudio Bravo as the country’s next stars.
They could even hit the heights of Chile legends Marcelo Salas and Ivan Zamorano.
Almendra said: “The reason we are No 1 is because when we train the players, we don’t just train with the idea of one or two making it to be professionals.
“My idea is to make every single player a top professional. I transfer this objective to all the teams and players and it makes our sides stronger. With this year we’ve not lost a game.”
Academies in Chile differ from England as they are not directly linked to clubs in the same way Premier League clubs have youngsters coming through their ranks.
Almendra’s lads are based in Concepcion, south of Santiago, where he reckons the hungriest players are made.
And in this year’s academy league they smashed past the 100-point barrier, an astonishing 30 points clear of their nearest rival.
Then they went to the Argentina Cup last month and reached the final of the youth competition.
Almendra said: “We’ve been going six years now. We scout all over the country but mainly in the south. There are better players there because there are less opportunities in the south and it means a different type of player.”
Almendra was playing for Deportes Concepción when Sanchez scored for Cobreloa 11 years ago. Now he reckons he has the next crop of Sanchez’s on his hands.
But he would love an official partnership with a Premier League team to feed them the next generation of South American stars. (Mike Mcgrath/The Sun)