Juho Talvitie: Finland’s Gem – by Jake McGhee
The City Football Group has a wide array of clubs from all corners of the world in its armoury to develop talent, in the European talent hotbed of Belgium Manchester City’s satellite club Lommel SK have another star in the making rising through the ranks.
Following an unsuccessful trial in the red half of Manchester in 2020, the young Finn decided to join up with Lommel SK to begin his career. Previously with Ilves in his native Finland, he quickly made headway in the club and began attracting interest, eyes were drawn to the winger and a call-up t the national team’s youth ranks was gifted to the young man. He took this opportunity and began to make a name for himself in Finland, still hailed as one of the most promising talents in Finland the winger’s fearless performances for his country led to Lommel and the City Group being notified of him and eventually opting to put pen to paper and have the Finn pull on the green jersey.
So just how good is Juho if the City Group were following him from the age of 16? Juho is the complete package simply, comfortable on the ball, incredibly agile for his 5”10 frame, and mentally switched on. His unique skill set make him an incredibly sought after profile in the modern game, relatively tall, physically well built for his age and powerful when bursting forward with the ball. His ability on the ball is on par with his ability off it, an intelligent and creative player he has a great understanding of when to use his preferred left foot to cut inside from the right wing which he often hugs, keeping himself wide and spreading the play or being direct and taking his man on. Juho is a threat from set pieces whether he’s taking a free kick, whipping a ball into the box or waiting in the box to receive a cross he is always proactive and on his toes ready to make an impact as seen here as he heads in from a corner against the Faroe Islands.
His powerful runs with the ball cause serious problems for defenders as he utilises his pace and directness to force the defender into making a tackle or diving in.
Juho’s shooting is also incredibly impressive, a key feature of his game. He is comfortable shooting from a variety of ranges and this asset of his game has clearly been trained excellently as many clips of him training from dead ball situations are available online.
In an otherwise terrible game for Finland against Portugal Juho was the one shining light that allowed Finland to take some positives from the game as he gave them the lead early on with a wonderful strike from range following a quick free kick.
His performance against Portugal earned him plaudits from both sides as even the Portuguese following a 9-1 win noted just how impressive the Finnish right winger was.
A left footed right winger… it’s hard to think of any other player than Arjen Robben. The two share a very similar skill set; the trademark cut inside with the left and releasing a powerful strike, the sheer power and pace when they get into their stride. Ousmane Dembele is another similar player physically, despite not having the explosiveness of Dembele Juho is still quite similar, very refined on the ball with the ability to create a chance out of nothing, tall and deceptively agile. Being Finnish it’d be rude not to compare him to another Finn, the most iconic of all: Jari Litmanen, the intelligence and creative spark is found in both Jari and Juho, Litmanen has been hailed as Juho’s hero in an interview so it is no surprise that he models his game off of him.
Juho only being 17 still has lots to prove in a professional environment, he is clearly trusted as a starter at Lommel and he would be smart to continue at the Belgian club for another season or two and see out his contract. As he continues to develop his game and gain invaluable professional experience he will undoubtedly be noticed by big name clubs in top European leagues, and with Juho playing at a City Group club he may well return to Manchester, only this time the blue side. Given his physical profile at such a young age I believe he would be excellent in Manchester City’s set up even at youth level, the profile he offers is ideal for any manager.
Being arguably the brightest talent in Finland he looks destined for greatness.