Michael Laudrup: Pozuelo can be Swansea City's Coutinho
MICHAEL Laudrup is tipping Alejandro Pozuelo to become a Swansea City star, declaring: "He can be our Philippe Coutinho."
Brazilian international Coutinho is regarded as one of the best No. 10s in the Premier League having made rapid strides since joining Liverpool from Inter Milan last January.
And though Pozuelo cost Swansea a fraction of the £8.5 million Liverpool paid for Coutinho, Laudrup reckons the Spanish starlet can have a similar impact at the Liberty.
"I think Alejandro can do here what Coutinho has done at Liverpool," said the Swansea manager.
"I remember when Coutinho arrived. He came from Inter and he had a lot to learn, but now he is one of the most important players at Liverpool.
"With time, Pozuelo can do the same here because he has the same ability with the ball.
"He can find space, he is good one-on-one and has two good feet — we don't know if he is right-footed or left-footed. He also has very good vision."
Coutinho, 21, signed for Inter at the age of just 16 and was backed to become a key man at the San Siro.
But although he had some bright moments with the Italian giants, the midfield creator was allowed to join Brendan Rodgers's Liverpool.
His first Reds goal came in the 5-0 thumping of Swansea in February, and Coutinho has not looked back since.
Pozuelo is still finding his feet in the English game following his cut-price £500,000 move from Real Betis in the summer.
The 22-year-old, who had only limited first-team opportunities in Spain, is yet to start a Premier League game but has impressed from the bench during five substitute appearances.
Pozuelo has made another six appearances in the cups — four of which have been starts — and scored goals against Malmo and Petrolul Ploiesti. "He has a lot of talent," added Laudrup.
"He's a player that you can see is still young, but he has so much quality with two feet.
"We have to bring him forward and that's what we will do.
"He still has to learn a lot of things, but he is getting better and better when we don't have the ball.
"He's not that tall, but he's quite strong. He needs to learn to use his body better.
"But with a player like that who is only 22, we have to bring him forward slowly. Then he will be another very important player for us."
Pozuelo is likely to get another taste of the Europa League tomorrow night when Swansea host St Gallen. Laudrup's men have the opportunity to move out in Group A having stunned Valencia in their first pool game.