Having thrilled in helping FC Midtjylland to a first Super League crown, attacker Pione Sisto is set for a big summer on the international scene with Denmark's seniors and Under-21s.
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A potential debutant in Denmark's European Qualifier against Serbia tonight having received his first senior call-up, UEFA.com's weekly wonderkid Pione Sisto is fresh from helping FC Midtjylland make history in the Danish Super League.
Name: Pione Sisto
Club: FC Midtjylland
Debut: 19 July 2013 v AGF Aarhus
Position: Attacking midfielder/right-winger
Date of birth: 04/02/1995
Preferred foot: right
They say …
"He is a talent who possesses some tools that not many footballers in Denmark have. He is a talented and skilful player who is a bit like Christian Eriksen. To him, it is not just like pushing a button, however. He works extremely hard and has a fantastic mentality – and then he can score goals too."
Morten Olsen, Denmark coach
"He runs a lot, but I am never worried that he will overdo it physically. He is well built and he smashes all the bleep tests we put him through in training."
Glen Riddersholm, Midtjylland coach
His parents fled his native Uganda with the then sixth-month-old Sisto and his eight siblings because of civil war, settling in Denmark. He started playing at Tjørring IF in a suburb of Herning, home town of Midtjylland, but was quickly spotted by the top-flight club where he swiftly rose through the youth ranks. Granted a debut against Aarhus in 2013, he immediately impressed in a 2-0 win.
Given Danish citizenship in December 2014, he was cleared to play for the country by FIFA in May and national coach Olsen wasted no time in drafting him into his squad. With Sisto also included in the Under-21 selection for this summer's finals in the Czech Republic, it caps a remarkable season for the 20-year-old who has just helped Midtjylland lift their first-ever Danish title.
Playing style …
His greatest assets are speed and unpredictability. Opponents seldom know what he will do, but whatever decision he makes, it most frequently turns out to be the right one. Deadly in one-on-one situations, he also boasts a powerful right boot which makes him dangerous anywhere within 30 metres of goal.
Shades of …
In his ability to hold onto the ball, he resembles ex-Danish international Claus Jensen; when deployed in attacking midfield his sharp dribbles and turns have echoes of Christian Eriksen; and in his best moments his dribbling even evokes another Danish great, Michael Laudrup.
Eureka moment …
On 17 May when Midtjylland secured the Danish championship – in all but maths – by beating FC København 2-0 at home. Sisto sealed the triumph late in the second half, embarking on a long slalom from the left towards the centre before making a sharp turn just outside the area and sending a hard, flat, right-footed drive into the bottom-left corner.
Best-case scenario …
To shine at the U21 Championship this month and also help Denmark qualify for UEFA EURO 2016, in the process impressing enough to land a contract with a top European club.
He says …
"I see myself as a local boy because I have lived nearly all my life here, but that does not mean I cannot see myself somewhere else. I know where I am best – one against one, and when I approach the opponents' goal, where I can make my sharp passes or shoot."