Sebastian Coates

Sebastian Coates

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Not so long ago Sebastian Coates was a young centre back who was starring at the back for Uruguay and on the verge of a move to Liverpool, joining them with a player of the tournament award at the Copa America under his belt. Sadly for him, injuries and poor form have stopped him being able to hold down a place for the long term, leading to loan moves back to his first club Nacional and to Sunderland last season.

Still highly thought of in Uruguay, Coates now has the chance to rebuild his reputation in Europe, with a permanent deal to Sunderland AFC in the bag. Now is time for him to show that it was just the injuries holding him back, though he did miss time last season due to them, and that he is a Premier League quality player.

It will be difficult for him, despite his attributes, his weaknesses are the ones that are most often targeted in England. He lacks pace, his acceleration is lacking badly and he can often be exposed by a pacey forward. Worse he can be bullied by opponents, as was shown in cup action for Liverpool against lower league opposition.

While he was not the only culprit, he showed he was completely unable to cope with a powerful, physical forward using his strength against him, even his usual good aerial ability went missing under pressure. Not just his ability to direct headers to a team mate, which he is usually adept at, but even his ability to win them in the first place completely deserted him, as he allowed himself to be moved out from under the ball far too easily.

As you can see from this clip from 2011, his weakness against a powerful forward is not a lack of strength, it is that he allows himself to be intimidated, which suggests a fragile confidence. On his day, with the confidence flowing, he is an excellent technical defender who positions himself well to make up for his lack of pace.

When he is lacking confidence, that positional sense will go AWOL, as he dithers and second guesses himself, leaving him reacting to situations constantly, rather than anticipating them and cutting them off early. With his lack of pace, he needs to be anticipating, getting himself in position early, as he will not be able to catch up later with a burst of speed, such as a defender like Sol Campbell was able to do when poorly positioned.

As you can see from that goal against QPR, Coates has excellent technique on the ball, with the ability to be a quality ball playing central defender, if given the chance. He does struggle against small nippy forwards, to cope with the twist and turns, but can usually use his positional sense to just keep himself goalside in the main.

Coates also likes to throw himself in at times, which is evident in the above video, which could be dangerous in modern football, as even getting the ball cleanly is no longer seen as a 'safe' tackle in the modern game. I feel he will need to look to stay on his feet more and use those long legs to sneak the ball away from attackers, he is certainly capable of that.

Personally I feel he is better when he keeps his feet, as he does have very good timing, in the main, and can usually pick the right moment to nick the ball away from his opponent. It is when he goes flying in that I find myself wincing and expecting the decision to go against him. He could also do with making himself more of a threat in the opposition area during dead ball situations, as the QPR goal showed, he is capable of scoring.

With his height and aerial prowess, you would expect him to net a minimum of 5 goals a season, if the delivery is good, though he will need to stay fit enough to get the games to do so. That I feel is the main issues surrounding Sebastian Coates, not his pace or tendency to throw himself into a challenge, simply his injury problems, which seem to arise every season.

If he can steer clear of injuries, Sunderland fans will be getting a very good defender, one who can help them steer clear of the relegation zone over the next few seasons, and provide a platform to compete in the top half of the Prem. If he can steer clear of injuries, Liverpool will come to regret letting him leave. Sadly that is a big if. A very big if.



{Profile Posted 29/08/12}

Date of Birth: - 07.10.1990

Height: - 6 ft, 5 inches

Position: - CB

Nationality: - Uruguayan

Current Club: - Liverpool

Estimated Market Value: - £10 Million

Linked with: - Wont be moving

Club Statistics


(League Competition)

2009/2010 season - 21 matches, 2 goals and 1 assist.

2010/2011 season - 28 matches, 1 goal and 4 assists.

TOTAL - 49 matches, 3 goals and 5 assists.


(Cup Competition)

2009 season - 5 matches, 1 goal and 1 assist.

2010 season - 8 matches, 1 goal and 1 assist.

2011 season - 5 matches, no goals and no assists.

TOTAL - 18 matches, 2 goals and 2 assists.

TOTAL FOR NATIONAL - 67 matches, 5 goals and 7 assists.


2011/2012 season - 12 matches, 1 goal and no assists.

2012/2013 season - 1 match, no goal and no assists.

TOTAL - 13 matches, 1 goal and no assists.

International Statistics

Uruguay U20

2009/2010 season- 4 matches, no goals and no assists.


2010/2011 season - 1 match, no goals and no assists.

2011/2012 season - 4 matches, no goals and 1 assist.

2011season - 4 matches, no goals and no assists (Copa America)

TOTAL - 9 matches, no goals and 1 assist.

General Comments:

Sebastian Coates if one hell of a player. He really is. Last year, he by far did not play enough for the first team. All he did was keep the bench warm, which was ridiculous. He is a far better player than that, and deserves to be playing far more than he was. Furthermore, over the course of the summer, people were saying that Liverpool would need a replacement for Agger, or Skrtel, should they have left. However, I think that that is silly. Yes, a young replacement should have been brought in, perhaps a 19 or 20 year old, but Coates is a player who is ready to step into the breach. The game against Manchester City clearly showed that to us.

Anyway, let me get onto his abilities as a player. You may be shocked by how few good things in his game I can pick out, and then you will equally be shocked by how many bad points of his game I have picked out. You will wonder how I manage to form the opinion that Coates is a World Class centre back in the making. However, the thing with Coates is he has no real strong points, and no real weaknesses, unless you are nit-picking. He is just a solid all round player, who does not really have any flaws (apart from if you nit-pick, as I have said). And that is why I think he is a quality player, because he just does his job well, but to such a high standard.

Anyway, those abilities of his!! Firstly, I want to start with the good things in his game. He is a fantastic player in the air. I know that most defenders, especially those at Centre Back are good in the air, but Coates is another class above. It helps that he is almost 10 foot tall, but he is so strong in the air. He always seems to get to the ball first, and then get his header as far away from danger as possible. On either thing I have noticed when he is in the air - and I do not know if it is a South American thing or not - is the way he can pass to a fellow teammate, by clearing the header. He does not just focus on heading the ball clear, but he tries to get the ball to a team mate too, which is superb. He is also fantastic in the air because he never seems to foul anybody. You see lots of defenders going over the top of the striker, or opposition players. But Coates never seems to do this, or if he does he always gets away with it - and he always gets the ball. Super impressive!!

He also has a fantastic technique as well. It means that he is a superb passer. He can spray the ball around brilliantly. Whether it is short passing to a teammate, or that long expansive pass out wide. He is also a good player when it comes to bringing the ball forward as well. It means that he can take pressure off the defence by being able to take the ball with him and it also aides the midfield as it mean is that they can out up. It just generally helps the team a great deal, and he is great at it. However, I would like to see him do it more, and rely on his fellow defenders to cover him. However, he has not played much, so I guess the relationship and understanding needs to build before he can go off gallivanting all the time!! Finally, another bit of his brilliant technique was shown when he scored that superb overheard kick in the late night kick off against QPR last year, the one where we went 2-0 up and threw it away, a late Jamie Mackie goal if I remember correctly. That overhead kick shows his technique is top notch.

What has also impressed me is the way that Coates always puts that full effort in, all the way through the match every match. It helps that he is a very strong player physically, and also that he has bundles of energy. He just does not seem to tire. He just keeps going and keeps going, and will not let his head drop. But as I say, he also tries so hard for the team. He puts in that extra little bit of effort, which is just what you need. Also, as he is young, putting in that extra effort can only make him a better player overall.

However, I am now going to be a little bit of a nit - pick, and explain the things which Coates could work on in his game. Firstly, you have got his tackling. As I say I am being very in depth and picky, but it is something that he could work on. He sometimes will go into the challenge, not rashly, but wont get the ball. A couple of times against City this happened, he got the player and not the ball (but still got away with it). It is only a small percentage of the time that he will do this, but if he just worked on his tackling a little bit more, it would make him an even more fearsome opponent. Furthermore, his reading of the game does not seem to be outstanding. There are times when he will rush to an opposite player, and get turned, or times when he will stay off a player, then they will just sprint past him. He needs to make sure that he stands off when he should, and go in hard to a player when he should (if you get what I mean). He needs to make sure that all his decisions are correct - and to do this, he needs to read the game a little better. However, I would suggest that it will improve as he plays more games in the Premiership. He has come from a far weaker league, which plays slower, more gentle football, to a fast past and stronger game. Therefore, it will take him a little bit of time to get used to reading the game - but he does need to improve on it.

To conclude the negatives of Coates, he seems a bit of a weak player. If you look at him, he really does just look like a stick. He is really really really tall, but just like a stick. And coming from a league and country where the football is not necessarily that tough, to a league where it is, he is out of his depth physically wise. However, he does look as if he is getting stronger, and he has plenty of time to hit the gym and get stronger and bigger - as he is only very young. To conclude, I actually dont think that Coates is the quickest of players. He may not be slow - he wont be caught out for speed that is for sure - but he is not one of the quickest Centre Backs out there, that is for sure. But it is not that bad, he has enough pace to be going with for now. He just needs to be careful he is not caught in a bad position, as he wont be able to rely on speed to get back and atone for errors.

Would Coates cut it for Liverpool?

Yes, no doubt about it. He has all the key attributes you need to succeed. Good in the air, a solid tackler, and he will fit the Tika Taka style perfectly, due to his technique and ball playing skills. There is just no doubt about it; Coates will be the perfect CB for Liverpool for a few years to come yet!!

Summary of Coates:

Strengths: In the air, technique, height, passing, effort and energy.

Weaknesses: Tackling, reading of the game, strength and pace.

The Business End of the Profile:

Coates wont be moving this summer, and I cannot see him leaving the club for a long long time either.

Here is that one and only goal Coates has scored for Liverpool, and what a goal too!!

He has come on a lot from this, nervous leggy player;


{A profile by Ed052}




Written by Tris Burke



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