The Adelaide teen sensation flying under the radar

Replacing a club legend, captain and champion at the ripe age of 18 should be a daunting prospect, but try telling that to Louis D’Arrigo.

To say that Adelaide United’s rising star has big shoes to fill following the off-season departure of Reds' club icon, Isaias, is a colossal understatement.

But the teenager, who only had four Hyundai A-League minutes to his name before the start of the 2019/20 campaign, has slotted in seamlessly in the heart of new head coach Gertjan Verbeek’s midfield.

D'Arrigo's Spanish predecessor featured in 158 Hyundai A-League matches across six seasons and was as a picture of consistency and high-quality output during a golden era in the City of Churches.

Already comparing the West Torrens Birkalla youth product to a heroic leader who inspired the Reds to the 2015/16 Premiership-Championship double and two FFA Cup triumphs is certainly premature. 

But the Young Socceroo's performances in his first four Hyundai A-League starts have justifiably drawn glowing praise from analysts around the country.

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FOX Sports broadcaster Simon Hill, speaking on a recent episode of the FOX Football Podcast, said: “The kid I really like is Louis D’Arrigo. 

“I know Al Hassan Toure gets all of the wraps, and that’s understandable because he’s a striker and the glory boy with the goals, but D’Arrigo is 18. 

“He’s taking over Isaias’ role. It’s a position of huge responsibility and he’s done it with such maturity. I think he’s a fantastic player.” 

Al Hassan Toure’s meteoric rise has captured the attention of football fans around the country, but D’Arrigo’s breakout performances have fallen somewhat under the radar outside of South Australia.

The nature of his methodical, composed and decisive displays are not likely to draw the same kind of electrifying reviews as the dazzling Toure.

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“D’Arrigo, the 2017-18 Y-League player of the season, plays like a man twice his age,” wrote Jonathan Howcroft in the Guardian.

“When Adelaide are in possession D’Arrigo is a ready outlet for a pass, always looking to form a triangle with the ballplayer and a third teammate. 

“Without the ball he has already proven himself an astute decision maker, knowing when to commit and when to hold his ground.

“Much of his effectiveness in this context is difficult to quantify; it’s spoiling, jockeying, and corralling opponents into poor options, as much as it is a highlight reel of punishing tackles and commanding interceptions.”

Opta Widget: D'Arrigo

All eyes will be on the Reds’ Original Rivalry clash with Melbourne Victory on Saturday, 23 November at Coopers Stadium in Round 7.

It’s a match that will be broadcast live on ABC TV as well as in all the usual outlets on FOX Sports, Kayo and the MyFootball Live platforms.

If D’Arrigo enters the Saturday night spotlight and performs to high standards set in his first four Hyundai A-League starts, he will certainly not have long left as Adelaide’s best kept secret.

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