AVTV Player Report: Daniel Montero
Meet the young man who, at 20, is an established international of the Uruguay national team as well as just recently taking over the spot as Ciaran Clark
's partner in the heart of defense. Daniel Montero
has been a revelation since his first steps into Aston Villa at the age of 18, choosing to leave his hometown club of Nacional behind for England. But how exactly did Montero achieve so much, and at such a young age?
Born in Montevideo, Montero shares his hometown with Uruguay and Liverpool striker Luis Suarez
. As a boy, he joined the academy at Nacional and rose to the Under-19s team by the age of 15, in 2012. He soon made his senior debut aged 16, and never looked back, making 22 appearances in the Uruguayan Primera Division that season. The next year, he made another 18 appearances, solidifying his first-team spot at the club.
His brilliant showing at the back of Nacional prompted Uruguay Under-20s manager Juan Jacinto Rodriguez
to hand him his first international call-up.
Montero's performances had not caught only Rodriguez's eye either. Aston Villa scouts Emerson Thorpe
and Gilmar Francisco
watched the young defender frequently and reported of his existence to David Beckham
Just before that though, in June, Montero 'retired' from Under-20 duty as he won his first cap for the senior Uruguay team, against Sweden on the 5th of June, 2015.
All too soon, Montero was on his way to England, leaving Nacional and Uruguay in 2015 to forge a new career in a foreign country. It was tough, especially for an 18-year-old, but thanks to some warmth from fellow South Americans Wellington Nem
, he slowly but surely fitted in.
Although expected to be thrown into the Under-18s team, Montero quickly made his baby steps into the Villa first-team, making 19 appearances in the Premier League and 31 appearances in all competitions. His first trophy medals also came in the form a double - the FA Cup and the Europa League.
Next season, Montero was playing more regularly, slowly but surely disrupting the partnership of Clark and Ron Vlaar
that had worked flawlessly in recent seasons. He made 22 league appearances and 39 in all competitions, performing brilliantly once again as Aston Villa powered their way to a treble of the Capital One Cup, FA Cup and Europa League.
This year, the young 20-year-old has made 6 out of 6 appearances in the Premier League for Aston Villa. Vlaar has not got a chance as of yet, with Montero playing brilliantly and working perfectly with Clark. Now, he also possesses 23 caps for his country's Under-20s team, and 12 caps for the Uruguay national team that is ranked 8th in the world.
It remains to be seen how Daniel Montero's career will continue to unfold - but we suspect it will not be going downhill anytime soon.