Who is Vilius Piliukaitis? All you need to know about this Blackburn ace
The 17-year-old midfielder has been making all the right noises for the Rovers’ U18 side this season and seems to have attracted serious attention from a number of heavy-hitters across England. In fact, the likes Chelsea, Arsenal and Tottenham Hotspur also monitoring him (h/t TEAMtalk).
However, TEAMtalk goes on to claim that Manchester United and Liverpool that are leading the chase for the Lithuanian.
Amidst so much interest surrounding the teenage sensation, let’s take a closer look at what makes Vilius Piliukaitis such a special talent;
Born on March 10, 2001, Piliukaitis began his footballing journey with FK Panezevys back in his homeland of Lithuania. The midfielder was part of the Lithuanian National Football Academy for years before he was snapped up by Blackburn Rovers earlier in the summer.
Before his move to Blackburn, there was interest in him from Spurs as well. In fact, the player was believed to be keen on joining the North Londoners. However, the Lilywhites delayed their move and in the meantime, the midfielder ended up joining the Rovers. (h/t 15min.lt)
Since his move to Blackburn, the 17-year-old has made four appearances and has impressed heavily, scoring three goals and setting up three more. His first goal for the Rovers’ U18 side came in a 1-1 draw against Manchester City on 13th October 2018, where he was adjudged the Man of the Match.
Following that, he grabbed a double and assisted two more as the Rovers’ youth side thrashed West Bromwich Albion U18s 4-1 earlier this month.
Piliukaitis was part of the Lithuanian U17 side that participated in the qualifying phases of the UEFA U17 European Championships. The midfielder scored one goal in his three appearances but failed to lead his team to the main tournament phase. He has trained with the U18s of the national team but hasn’t made his debut at that age group yet.
Style of Play
An attack-minded central midfielder by trade, Piliukaitis relishes the No.10 role but can also be used as a traditional No.8. The midfielder is physically well-developed and strong for someone his age and brings in an aggressive mentality to the field.
Always looking to drive forward from the middle of the park, the 17-year-old possesses the pace and the dribbling skills to get past opponents with ease. The Lithuanian youth international also puts in the hard yards without the ball, impressing with his work rate.
Naturally, for someone his age, Piliukaitis is still a raw talent and needs to fine tune a few aspects of his game – particularly his decision-making in the final third and the ability to retain possession in tight spaces. But judging from what he has shown at Blackburn so far, it is not surprising that big clubs are lining up for his signature.
What does the future hold?
When clubs like Manchester United, Liverpool, Chelsea etc., come calling, it is extremely hard for a player to say no. However, given how well he is developing at Blackburn, Piliukaitis should be in no hurry to jump ships at the moment.
At this rate, the midfielder could break into the Rovers’ first-team in the near future, which would not be the case at any of the big clubs. Hence, it would be wise for the 17-year-old to stay put with Blackburn for another season or two, before securing his big move.