Scout - Muhamed Besic
The Sky Sports Scout has been keeping an eye on rising talent for several seasons, and has already found many players who have gone on to become big hits. This will be no different at the World Cup and here, in association with Wyscout, the Scout looks at Bosnia's Muhamed Besic.
By Sky Sports Scout - @SkySportsScout
Last Updated: 21/05/14 12:27pm
In the build-up to the World Cup finals, the Sky Sports Scout will be taking a closer look at up-and-coming players staking a claim for national-team action this summer.
The Scout is on the hunt for talented stars of tomorrow who could shine in Brazil and make a name for themselves on the biggest stage.
Using the world's leading scouting resource Wyscout (for more information, read our full feature here), he will seek to highlight each selected player's key qualities and provide some additional background knowledge.
Some of the youngsters chosen will be contenders for FIFA's Best Young Player Award at the World Cup, won in previous tournaments by Germany duo Thomas Muller (2010) and Lukas Podolski (2006). Those born on or after 1 January 1993 are eligible for this honour.
You can nominate a player by emailing here, and please check our archive to make sure we have not already covered the player). You can also interact with the Scout via his Twitter feed, @SkySportsScout.
On the Scout's radar in this report is Bosnia centre-back/defensive midfielder Muhamed Besic.
The Scout reports...
"I knew several months ago that (Muhamed) Besic would be in the squad, because he is the only player here who can handle the job of man-marking Lionel Messi."
Now that's pressure! Those are the words of Bosnia coach Safet Susic, speaking on Monday at the announcement of his 24-man provisional World Cup squad. The surprise name in his selection was Muhamed Besic - a talented player for sure, but one who had appeared to be out of the national-team picture for the finals.
Not only did Susic include Besic in his Brazil plans, he went on to earmark him as the man he hopes can keep four-time World Player of the Year Messi quiet in Bosnia's first-ever match at a finals tournament - the Group F opener against much-fancied Argentina at the Maracana in Rio de Janeiro, on the night of Sunday 15 June. Assignments hardly come much tougher.
Besic doesn't even play as a defensive midfelder for his club side, Ferencvaros. But the 21-year-old has some experience of the role, and his timely return to the fold suggests coach Susic is conscious of the need for a tactical switch, having come in for criticism after the 2-0 friendly defeat by Egypt in Innsbruck in March.
At the time of writing, Ferencvaros are fourth in the Hungarian top-flight, eight points behind leaders Debrecen with three games remaining. A title medal therefore seems highly unlikely for Besic, but for the second season running, he has impressed hugely at the back for the Budapest outfit, managed since Christmas by former Germany midfielder Thomas Doll.
Besic moved to Fradi in summer 2012 from Hamburg, where he had fallen out with coach Torsten Fink. Indeed, disciplinary issues have been a feature of the Berlin-born player's career to date - for both club and country - but his talent is undeniable and he stands out a mile in the OTP Bank Liga. In Besic's first season in Hungary, he was named the best foreign player in the division and also helped the club to victory in the League Cup.
In the current campaign, he has again been a regular starter at the heart of the Ferencvaros defence and appears to relish both sides of the game - the physical battle, and the need to build from the back. Always willing to take responsibility, Besic loves a tackle - although he does tend to collect bookings rather too frequently (perhaps a feature of his impetuous nature). Nevertheless, he is growing in composure game by game.
He reads the play well and excels in making interceptions - and those anticipation skills will of course be vital if he is to have any chance of shutting down Messi. Also, his long-range passing distribution to the flanks is accurate and helps turn defence into attack rapidly.
Besic was born to Bosnian parents in the German capital and played his youth football for Tennis Borussia Berlin before signing for Hamburg as a 16-year-old in 2009. In autumn of the following year, his fledgling career hit the fast tracks, with debuts at Under-21 international, Bundesliga and senior national-team level all arriving in quick succession within a matter of weeks.
Having impressed on his U21 debut for Bosnia in a qualifying match against Italy in Sarajevo, he was selected by Susic for the senior side's friendly against Slovakia in November 2010. Bosnia won the Bratislava contest 3-2, with Besic - then aged 18 and two months - coming off the bench in the 79th minute to become his country's youngest-ever international. Around this time, he signed a new contract with Hamburg and began to get a taste of club action in Germany too.
Left out, then recalled
In February 2011, Besic played the full 90 minutes for Bosnia in defence in a 2-0 friendly defeat by Mexico in front of 50,000 fans at the Georgia Dome in Atlanta. Having been an unused substitute home and away against Romania, he finally tasted competitive action in Euro 2012 qualifying as a substitute as Bosnia beat Albania 2-0 in Zenica that June.
Two more senior appearances followed that year, and he took his senior caps tally to seven in 2012 - but he has not been handed a run-out for the national team since then.
Besic saw more international action at Under-21 level, and he was a regular in qualifying for Euro 2013, even scoring in home wins over San Marino and Greece (a superbly taken volley) in Group 1. However, Bosnia could only finish second behind Germany in their pool and subsequently missed out on the play-offs.
Since then, a bust-up with U21 coach Vlado Jagodic saw him fall firmly out of favour and the knock-on effect from that row meant Susic used him sparingly too. He was an unused substitute for Bosnia's 3-1 World Cup qualifying win over Greece in March last year, and left on the bench too for the Under-21s' 4-1 victory over Albania in June 2013. As a result, Besic had been focused on his club football with Ferencvaros - until the call came from Susic that he would be off to the World Cup after all.
The Scout says...
Many Bosnia fans had been crying out for Besic's recall to the national team, having seen the high regard in which he is held in Hungary. Tottenham, Aston Villa and Fulham were linked with potential interest in him back in the autumn, and now the 21-year-old is set to be given a prime spot in the summer shop window. Should he impress in the potentially thankless task of trying to mark Messi at the Maracana, his star will rise - and his versatility and tenacity makes him an attractive prospect, even if his temperament remains something of a concern.
The Scout rating...
Shooting: 5 out of 10
Passing: 7 out of 10
Tackling: 8 out of 10
Heading: 8 out of 10
Pace: 7 out of 10
Vision: 5 out of 10
Current ability: 7 out of 10
Potential ability: 9 out of 10
Overall Scout rating: 56/80
Current value: £1.5million
Potential value: £8million
You've read the Scout's report on Muhamed Besic - now we want your views. Have you seen Besic in action? Do you agree with the Scout's assessment? How do you rate his World Cup and future prospects? Get in touch, either using the form below, email or the Scout's Twitter feed - @SkySportsScout.