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Costa Rica v New Zealand - 2022 FIFA World Cup Playoff

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Is Jewison Bennette any good? Costa Rican journalist gives us the lowdown on Sunderland target

If media reports are anything to go by, it’s just a matter of time before the signing of Jewison Bennette is confirmed - is he any good? We had a chat with Costa Rican sports journalist Kevin Jiménez to find out more...

Photo by Matthew Ashton - AMA/Getty Images

As you can imagine, 99% of Sunderland fans started this week not knowing who Jewison Bennette was. So it’s probably best to start by asking what can you tell us about the 18-year-old... What is his main position, and his key strengths?

Jewison Bennette is a left-footed left winger who can play on the right as well. He is probably most comfortable playing out wide in a 4-3-3.

His main strength is in taking defenders on when one v one.

It’s been mentioned during the speculation surrounding the move that Costa Rica are seeing a new crop of ‘jewels’ making their way onto the international scene. Where does Bennette rank amongst the emerging talent, and do you expect him to be part of the Costa Rican World Cup squad?

There is always talent in Costa Rica, the key here is that there is a cycle that is coming to an end, so Bennette along with some others have been given a chance.

Manfred Ugalde was sold to the City Football Group and has adapted really well, and is in European competitions with Twente as a 20-year-old. He adapted quickly.

Aguilera was bought by Nottingham Forest and he is a great talent as well.

Bennette will need to show that he can adapt to Europe. If Aguilera and Bennette are able to adapt - along with Uglade and Contreras (a 22-year-old who has started nine times for Costa Rica) - we can start to talk about that new crop becoming a reality.

And yes, he will be part of the World Cup squad, without a doubt.

Costa Rica v New Zealand - 2022 FIFA World Cup Playoff Photo by Matthew Ashton - AMA/Getty Images

The English Championship is an extremely physical league and at 18, Bennette is still very young and developing. He’s played men’s football for a season now – do you think he is ready to hold his own in physically-demanding games in the second tier of English football?

That’s the million-dollar question! Can he adapt, and how quickly? There is no doubt he is a smaller winger who relies on speed and technique versus strength and power.

So... we shall see.

How far do you think Jewison can go in the game?

The talent is there, but it will be up to him adaptation-wise, and for Sunderland to properly develop him. So it is hard to say right now.

What would you say to Sunderland fans who aren’t sure about this transfer?

I think there is always a bit of doubt when there is a signing from a foreign country. They may not be sure because of his nationality, or because he is unknown to the league, but he is a talented player with a lot of potential.

He comes from Costa Rica, a country that has brought out great talents like Keylor Navas and Paulo Wanchope. Be patient!

Canada v Costa Rica -World Cup Qualifier Photo by Dale Macmillan/Soccrates/Getty Images

If you were going to compare him to another player, who would it be?

It’s tough to compare him to someone at a high international level since he is only 18.

I think he will need to go try and adapt as quickly as possible, and see if his strengths in Costa Rica can carry over to Sunderland.

At just 17, he had burst onto the scene internationally while playing his first full season at Herediano - one of if not the top club in the Costa Rican Premier Division. What has made him stand out so much to justify such a huge breakout 18 months?

He is a young talent that has been given a chance.

He has shown good moments - now the next step will be to do it at a consistent level.


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