Suso (real name: Jesús Joaquín Fernández Sáenz de la Torre) is a very unique case. He's not overhyped like Hachim Mastour, nor has he been overworked, like Alexandre Pato was. Despite this, he is very young, like both these players, and has a lot of potential, like both of these players. So what's his story?
Well, the simple answer is that he is underrated. His talents are rotting on the bench while he is watching old, over-the-hill players play. A lot of people are apparently under the impression that he is a mediocre player or that he is insignificant for Milan. These fallacies couldn't be farther from the truth.
Something Suso brings to the table, beside his exceptional amount of talent, is something that is often overlooked in soccer, but is just as crucial as having skill. What is this characteristic? Well, it's the mental game. Suso's mental game is one of his strongest attributes. A successful soccer player is one who always exudes confidence, no matter what.
One would think that after warming the bench week in and week out with no recognition, Suso’s confidence would have withered and died. Conversely, rather than mourning, Suso continuously demonstrates a positive attitude. A week or two ago, Suso proclaimed to the Milan channel:
"The support-striker is where I feel most at ease, I have played in that position for a long time throughout my career. I have also played on the right but I have always considered myself a number 10. (This) is a chance to prove to the coach that I can play in this team, I can be a regular. I want to show what I can do, then the coach will decide."
The lines, "I can be a regular. I want to show what I can do, then the coach will decide" expose Suso's commitment to improvement and illustrates his ample amount of self-confidence. He can walk the walk, too. This confidence is often showcased on the pitch (when he actually plays). Exhibit A:
There are only a few players that can match Suso's mental game. This explains why there are countless examples of players failing to return to their normal form after suffering injuries. A recent example of this is Stephen El Shaarawy. El Shaarawy couldn't stop scoring in the 2012-2013 season. But injuries ended up catching up to him and he hasn't been the same since. It's not that he is incapable of playing at his old level. It's that his injuries have caused him to doubt himself and lose confidence when he is playing. It's hard to overcome this doubt and rebuild your confidence, especially when your every move is subject to the scrutiny of every wannabe sportscaster with an Internet connection and Twitter account.
Suso's mental game isn't his only attribute worthy of recognition. His actual skill is phenomenal. Suso's shot-taking, passing, and touch are well beyond his age. When he is given even the smallest chance to shine, he takes the spotlight without hesitation. For example ,when Suso was put in the starting lineup in a friendly played against Regginia, he simply dominated. He scored two beautiful goals:
Suso is so calm and at ease with himself, yet he is still able to play quickly and score goals like the ones above. Another coach should not overlook Suso. A player with this much potential and talent should not go to waste. Mihajlovic needs to dust off this hidden gem and put it under the spotlight.