ST HELENS, ENGLAND - MARCH 14: Mickey van der Hart of Ajax saves a penalty kick by Suso of Liverpool during the NextGen Series Semi-Final match between Liverpool U19 and Ajax U19 at Langtree Park on March 14, 2012 in St Helens, England. (Photo by Chris Brunskill/Getty Images)
Spain won the UEFA U19 Championship 1-0 over Greece on Sunday evening, but at the time most Liverpool fans were too busy trying to keep track of a rumoured Newcastle bid for Andy Carroll to pay it much attention. Video evidence, however, suggests that the match really did take place, and that once again Liverpool prospect Fernando Suso was at the centre of the Spanish midfield as the Iberians locked up a record-tying ninth U19 Championship.
Spain's number eight had a solid outing for the champions, playing 71 minutes before being substitued as the effects of five games in thirteen days began to take their toll. For those who have kept an eye on the Suso's growth since he arrived at Liverpool, his continuing development into a rounded box-to-box central midfielder after arriving as an almost purely attacking one was clearly on display all tournament, as he consistently took up deep positions in Spain's midfield as part of their double-pivot system. Also of note has been a massive improvement in his passing range, as he has quickly grown into a deadly long-ball player capable of switching play in an instant or exploiting napping fullbacks with first- and second-touch balls over the top.
After briefly appearing to plateau near the beginning of the 2011-12 season, Suso's recent showings have once again marked him as one of the brightest prospects on Liverpool's books. However, with only a year remaining on the player's contract it may be important for the club to give him a sign that he has a future in the first team in order to minimise the risk of him returning to Spain at the end of the year. And if he is to have any kind of limited role with the senior squad this season, it could become clear straight away, as despite his heavy workload over the past month he has already joined up with Liverpool's travelling squad as they embark on the 2012-13 North American pre-season tour, and he is expected to take part in the game against Toronto FC on July 21st.