The World Cup is just over a week away, and one man on the plane to Qatar is Sunderland’s Jewison Bennette.
Bennette, 18, joined Sunderland in the summer from his native Costa Rica.
The young, dynamic winger is a fresh talent on Wearside and he has started positively in a Sunderland shirt. Bennette scored his first Sunderland goal against Watford, salvaging a point for the travelling Mackems.
But, for the next month, Bennette’s focus will be on Costa Rica’s World Cup hopes. The South American country’s best finish was back in 2014 when they made the quarter-finals, drawing with England along the way.
Bennette was only a 10-year-old back then, and now the country will be putting their belief into him and the rest of the squad this winter.
Now, Kevin Jimenez, the reporter who broke Bennette’s move to Sunderland has given us his predictions for the youngsters trip to Qatar. He told me: “It is very likely Bennette will start the three group stage games, he is one of Costa Rica’s figures in attack and the coach trusts him a lot.”
The 18-year-old clearly has a lot of plaudits back home, but Jimenez doesn’t rate their chances highly overall, he added: “My prediction for Costa Rica is not positive. I don’t see us advancing to the next round, it is a very difficult group.”
Bennette will be coming up against some of the world’s best, with games against Spain, Germany and Japan waiting ahead of him.
It is a huge challenge for Bennette and his country, but it’s a big opportunity for him to show the World and Sunderland fans what he is capable of.