Little more than a week after allowing 32-year-old central defender Sotirios Kyrgiakos to move to German club Wolfsburg in August 2011, Liverpool replaced him in their squad with a man twelve years his junior and gave the newcomer the same squad number, 16, that the tall Greek defender had used.
Despite his young age, Sebastián Coates Nion already possesses quite a detailed CV. After spending a few years in Nacional's youth teams he broke into the first team when he was 18. He had by then already featured in the South American Under-20 Championships where Uruguay finished third impressing the watchful eye of Damien Commolli who followed his progress ever since.
Coates came into Nacional‘s side when three months were left of the 2008-2009 season winning the championship and reaching the semi-finals of Copa Libertadores. His progress was rewarded with the honour of being voted the Uruguayan Championship‘s "Revelation of the Season.“ Another League title followed in 2011 and he made his international debut only a week before Copa America when coming on as a substitute in a 3-0 win over Estonia.
He clearly impressed as he was included in Uruguay's squad for Copa America. Coates got a unexpected chance in the second game to establish himself at the biggest stage and featured in 4 out of Uruguay‘s 6 matches in Copa America, including the 3-0 win over Paraguay in the final. He collected three yellow cards in the process as well as the Trophy Claro for being the Best Young Player of the Tournament. He was a rock alongside his partner at the centre-half, the legendary Diego Lugano, prompting his nickname "Luganito“ or little Lugano.
The Uruguayan’s reputation was at an all-time high at the time of his arrival in England. Coates is a strapping 6 feet 6 inches (196 cm), a strong header both in his own area and the oppositions‘, is comfortable on the ball and will never shirk out of a tackle. He is an excellent reader of the game and has impressive technical ability for a man of his size.
Coates was sought after by many big clubs such as Paris St Germain, AC Milan, Atletico Madrid and Manchester City but he says that his talk with Luis Suarez made up his mind to join Liverpool because he had told him a lot about the Liverpool fans and the club‘s history and tradition. With Jamie Carragher now in his 34th year and Daniel Agger and Martin Skrtel both 27 next birthday and both prone to injury, the young Uruguayan is not likely to be kept waiting too long before he makes an impact as a Liverpool player.
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