Juan Rodriguez is a defensive midfielder who plays for LDU Quito under 17 in the Campeonato Formativas U17. The Ecuadorian is a key player for LDU Quito under 17, while he also was a regular starter for Ecuador U17 at both the Sudamericano U17 and Copa Tango MDM U18. The midfielder could potentially follow the footsteps of Denil Castillo and Oscar Zambrano.
Standing at around 1.83m – 1.88m with an athletic build, Juan Rodriguez has a very good build for a defensive midfielder. The defensive midfielder is physically very strong, being capable of powering through opponents and winning most physical battles in midfield. He has good jumping reach in aerial duels, while also displaying decent timing. This in combination with his good strength means that he wins most of his aerial duels. Juan Rodriguez displays good acceleration and speed, whilst also looking mobile and flexible. He has good stamina and keeps on running for 90 minutes long. In other words, Rodriguez has a very interesting physical profile.
Playing as the defensive midfielder in a possession-based style, Juan Rodriguez often receives the ball in first-phase possession. He either drops between the two central defenders but mostly tries to move into space between the opponent’s midfield and attacking line. Despite being quite tall he moves between the lines well and often receives in space. He almost always knows where his opponents are in first-phase possession, knowing when he can let the ball run before carrying the ball forward. Rodriguez displays good passing technique over short and long distances. The execution of his long passing remains inconsistent, though, but that will improve over time as he gains more experience. Rodriguez mostly progresses play through passes playing good line-breaking passes under pressure but is also capable of dribbling past his opponent in first-phase possession. He very rarely loses control over the ball while dribbling but maintains possession due to his strong physique.
Juan Rodriguez has the ability of making quick decisions under pressure but I think he should sometimes play at a higher tempo on the ball. He has the tendency to passively carry the ball forward before releasing a long pass. With his power and carrying ability, he should be more aggressively carrying the ball forward at times. Rodriguez prefers to use his right foot but shows good ability on his left foot under pressure, too. He sporadically joins the attack in the final third where he displays good movement in the box and the ability to finish on his left foot. Rodriguez is very composed on the ball and never seems to panic. His first touch under pressure is decent but not great and could do with some improvement.
Defensively, Juan Rodriguez has the potential to become really good but he still has some weaknesses that he needs to work on. The Ecuadorian youngster is aggressive in duels with the back towards the goal and has the physical strength to win back possession in these situations, even though he is not always successful, especially against opponents who use their body well. He gets into the right positions in defensive transitioning but his timing is sporadically not good enough, giving away fouls but doing well to disrupt the opponent’s attack. Though, in some situations he does leave gaps in midfield as he steps up when he should stay in his position. He also tends to lose defensive 1v1 duels against opponents with good ball manipulation. Rodriguez should look at the ball more in those situations. Especially in midfield this can be dangerous. When the opponent has settled possession in LDU Quito’s defensive third, Juan Rodriguez displays decent defensive responsibility to stay in position to block passes or win defensive 1v1’s against the opponent using his physical strength and relatively long legs well.
I think Juan Rodriguez has a very interesting physical profile, a good technical base and the potential to become a really good defender in defensive midfield. He should be promoted to LDU Quito U19 but has the problem that Elkin Ruiz is also a promising defensive midfielder and the captain of the U19’s. Rodriguez has no business playing at U17 level. LDU Quito know how to produce good defensive midfielders (e.g. Oscar Zambrano & Denil Castillo). Juan Rodriguez needs one or two more years at youth level before he can become a contender for first-team football at LDU Quito. He has the potential to move to Europe in 3-4 years depending on his development.