The new Jesús Navas – why Bryan Gil is one of La Liga’s brightest prospects
When Eibar played Sevilla at Ipurúa last weekend, all eyes were set on the small left-winger of the home side: Bryan Gil. When Sevilla loaned Bryan Gil to Eibar in the summer, they decided not to include any clause that prevented him to play against his parent team and Bryan Gil’s fantastic form this season was the main threat for Sevilla. In this tactical analysis, we will look at Bryan Gil’s development in the last months, his impact in La Liga and how he could fit Sevilla’s tactics next season when he returns from his loan.
Born in 2001, Bryan Gil is a product of Sevilla’s academy, where he progressed very quickly until reaching Sevilla Atlético, their B team, where he played 23 matches in the 2018/19 season in the Spanish third division (Segunda División B) scoring four goals and assisting another six aged just 17.
In the 2019/20 season, he got into Sevilla’s first team but after playing just seven games in the first half of the season, he joined Leganés on loan. His first loan experience wasn’t the best in terms of team performance as Leganés were relegated at the end of the season but Bryan Gil played 12 games and consistently showed his quality so it was great for his development.
Last summer, Eibar decided to take him on loan and he has become a key player for the Basque team. At the moment of writing, he has played 14 games in all competitions, scoring four goals and assisting another one. He was a regular player for Spain U19 and this season he has made his debut with the U21 team and is one of the players Luis Enrique is looking at to participate in the Euros next summer, according to the top 20 online casinos.
Next season, Gil is expected to return to Sevilla and is ready to make an impact there. In this scout report, we’ll see why he’s attracting so much interest and how he can continue his development soon.
Bryan Gil is a left-footed classic left-winger who usually plays very wide and creates chances with his dribbling and crossing. He’s small (175 cm / 5’9’’) and not very strong but very brave and isn’t afraid to get into challenges. If he develops some strength he could use his low centre of gravity to his advantage and become a player who’s difficult to push off the ball. He’s very quick and agile, accelerates and changes directions very easily and is also very fast in long distances.
His technique is excellent, especially when dribbling and he also has a great delivery from wide areas. He can play quickly under pressure and could be used as an attacking midfielder or right-winger if needed. His scoring figures are still quite low for an attacking player, partly because of his playing style and partly because of a certain lack of instinct as we’ll see in this analysis.
He works hard and has adapted very well to a very demanding coach like José Medilíbar, whose tactics need wingers who can run long distances both to defend and attack. If he continues his development and is used to his strengths, Bryan Gil could fit into almost any team in the world as he’s one of the last left-footed pure left-wingers left at the highest level.
Below, we can see a statistical profile of Bryan Gil and constitutes a great complement to this tactical analysis. Bars represent percentiles, so we see how he compares to the rest of wingers in La Liga in the selected metrics. We can see how active he is on the left flank, his high number of crosses and great accuracy, his good decision making to put passes and crosses into dangerous areas to assist his teammates and his constant threat from the wing with his dribbling ability.
Presence and movements from and in wide areas
As we have already mentioned, Bryan Gil is a typical winger who hugs the touchline to receive the ball, dribble and cross. Even if he’s not a limited player who can only do one thing and he also drifts inside some times, moving in the left half-space to create space for the full-back, he still tends to come wide and is the zone where he feels more comfortable and from where can create more for his team.
Well-educated and intelligent, Bryan Gil also adapts well to his teammates’ movements and doesn’t occupy zones in which there’s already a teammate in. He may lack some presence in the box as he rarely makes diagonal runs in behind from the wings to get into scoring positions but if there’s another player wide, he’s capable of making good runs in behind and shows he understands how to get into scoring positions when he needs to.
In the picture below, we can see Bryan Gil making a very direct run between the opposition centre-backs. The play starts with him recovering the ball near the referee position and when a teammate plays the ball to the left, he spots the space and attacks it. He receives a lobbed pass and scores with a fantastic first-touch volley. In this plate we can see how Bryan Gil has the vision and intelligence to attack free spaces when he starts the plays in central areas, suggesting he could be successfully transformed into a more central player with higher scoring figures.
But the run we saw just above isn’t the most usual one in his game. When Bryan Gil drifts inside for whatever reason – press the rivals, open space for the full-back or after dribbling – his first instinct is returning to the wing as fast as possible. He makes good runs from central areas to the wings, reading the full-back position correctly and attacking the spaces at his back.
Most of the time, Bryan Gil is close to the touchline and looks to start the plays from wide positions but that doesn’t mean he’s not active. He makes good runs in behind by the touchline, dragging the full-back with him, creating spaces for his teammates to play in and also looking to receive long balls over the defensive line. He could improve his runs by looking to get into more central positions when there are spaces there so he can receive the ball and face the goal instead of receiving it wide and crossing.
Below, we can see Bryan Gil running in behind to receive a long pass. He accelerates very quickly and leaves the defender behind so there are space and time for his teammate to play the pass. The run isn’t bad and it can lead to Bryan Gil creating a chance from the wing but considering the huge space between the rival centre-back and full-back, Bryan Gil could have attacked that space and would have had a chance to face the goalkeeper. If he manages to make more aggressive movements towards the goal, he can easily increase his goal tally as he has the pace to beat the defenders and also the quality to finish.
Again below, we can see another example of Bryan Gil choosing to stay wide instead of attacking the box. His teammate has the ball in a central position and Bryan Gil drifts wide to create space to receive the ball and try to create from there. In this play, he doesn’t realize Eibar’s left-back is making an overlapping run and already providing width so the best decision would have been to run in behind to attract defenders and get into a scoring position. Anyway, it’s not a bad run per se as he does receive the ball in a good position to dribble and create from the wing and it’s something more dependent on his style and run.
It’s when the attacks come from the right side that Bryan Gil could improve his positioning. He usually stays very wide, wider than the rival full-back, and doesn’t get into scoring positions too often. He has the pace and can detect spaces quite well, so it would be worth working on his anticipation inside the box so he can also add goals to his attacking contribution.
In the example below, we see a cross flying from the right side of the pitch. Bryan Gil, instead of getting into a scoring position inside the box stays very wide and doesn’t look to receive the cross or anticipate inside the box. It’s also noteworthy how both Eibar strikers drag defenders with them, creating the space for someone to appear at the far post in a threatening position.
In the next section of this scout report, we’ll see how Bryan Gil behaves when he has the ball. He’s a very direct and skilled player who uses his pace and ability to create from the wing and doesn’t need a lot of space to put the ball into very dangerous situations.
Dribbling and directness
Bryan Gil’s technique is excellent. His first touch, ball control and ability to run at high speed with the ball very close to his feet are fantastic attributes for a winger. He perfectly combines pace and control, so he can change directions and stop or accelerate at any time and in very tight spaces, becoming an excellent dribbler both in transitions and positional attacks. He’s very confident and tries to take on defenders as soon as he has the opportunity.
We’ve already mentioned in this analysis that Bryan Gil is a classical winger and his signature move shows that. He looks to receive wide and run at the defenders aiming his run to the middle of the box. If the defender moves to prevent him from getting into the box, he accelerates to his left and creates space to cross or pass. If the defender chooses to cover Bryan Gil’s left foot, then he continues his run into the box and can shoot with his right foot or look to create from there. He’s constantly faking passes or taking little touches to create a yard of space to assist without dribbling his marker too.
Let’s see a couple of examples of Bryan Gil’s signature move. In the first one below, the defender doesn’t look to defend Bryan Gil’s left foot and stands on his feet. Bryan Gil takes a quick touch to his left to create just the necessary space and then puts a very good cross into his teammate’s run. It’s a very difficult situation for the defender because if he had chosen to close down the crossing option, then Bryan Gil could have advanced directly towards the goal.
In the next one, the defender does the opposite. Bryan Gil against runs at the defender from the left side but the full-back focuses on blocking any movement towards the touchline, leaving space for Bryan Gil to continue his run into the box. As in the previous example, it’s a situation in which the defender needs to be very accurate with his positioning to not leave any spaces for Bryan Gil to advance as he’s very quick and will quickly react to get advantage of any opportunity.
Of course, Bryan Gil doesn’t always succeed with this movement and sometimes the defenders manage to get him to the touchline without conceding any space for him to cross or pass the ball. In these situations, Bryan Gil is patient and doesn’t cross for the sake of it, which would result in lots of blocked shots. Instead, he uses his great technique and agility to turn quickly, play the ball backwards and restart the attack.
Apart from dribbling from the wings, Bryan Gil is also very gifted and creative to escape pressure and dribble past several players in tight spaces to advance from deeper positions. This ability suggests again he could be used in more central positions as he’s capable of going right or left and sending the defenders the wrong way.
In the picture below, Bryan Gil is surrounded by two rival players. He gets out of the pressure getting between both rivals with two quick touches and when the third rival comes to press him, Bryan Gil nutmegs him and continue advancing towards the goal.
Bryan Gil knows his strengths and attempts lots of dribbles (8.86 per 90), more than over 85% of La Liga wingers. His success rate is quite high (53.04%), especially considering he attempts lots of those dribbles in the final third, where every dribble creates more danger and there’s less space. It’s mostly by dribbling how he gets his 2.4 touches in the box per 90.
Crossing, assisting and finishing
We’ve already analyzed how Bryan Gil moves to get into good positions to assist or score. But all the setup wouldn’t be as effective if he didn’t provide a consistent end product. Luckily for Eibar (and Sevilla), Bryan Gil also has the quality to cross, pass and shoot, creating a lot of chances for his teammates and himself.
First of all, Bryan Gil’s delivery from crosses is very good. He doesn’t always use the same kind of crosses and has a good mix between driven, floated and low crosses so it’s up to him which one to use. He also makes very good decisions regarding the placement and timing of his passes into the box, which will surely translate into lots of assists if he plays with good finishers.
In the next picture, we see Bryan Gil reaching the endline after his dribbling to his left foot in his signature move. He’s closed down by two rivals but he still finds the space to deliver an excellent lobbed cross right into the striker’s head and avoiding four defenders and the goalkeeper. The striker scores very easily. This cross is a perfect example of the wide range of crosses Bryan Gil can deliver and also the good decisions he makes when choosing which type to use.
Again below, Bryan Gil has reached the endline and has two options to assist. He spots the run at the far post and fakes a low cross into that run, forcing both defenders to cover that pass as it’s the most dangerous one. But in the last second, he changes his foot position and assists the player arriving from the second line who then scores. The pass itself is technically quite easy but hiding it, sending the defenders the wrong way and choosing the exact moment to execute it make it a very complex and interesting assist.
The high number of dribbles Bryan Gil attempts and completes each match translates into lots of crosses and passes into the penalty area (5.93 and 5.01 per 90 respectively) as he dribbles with a purpose and always looks to create chances with his good delivery. And not only he hits the target he chooses with his passes and crosses (55.38% accuracy in his passes into the box and 42.86% in his crosses), he also chooses good targets who are in good positions, leading to the creation of numerous chances. So far this season, Bryan Gil has registered 0.35 xA per 90 but his teammates haven’t scored in any of the 4.54 xG he has set up.
To complete all we have mentioned in this tactical analysis, Bryan Gil can also advance using quick combinations and playing one-twos in the final third and his finishing with both feet is very good so defenders risk a lot if they leave any side free or try to force him to shoot with his right. This season, Bryan Gil has scored 0.23 goals from 0.12 xG per 90, meaning he’s overperforming but also suggesting he has quality in his finishing. In total, he adds 0.47 expected goals contributions per 90, which is a fantastic figure for a winger.
After showing glimpses of his quality in previous seasons, Bryan Gil has established himself as one of the best wingers in La Liga this season. He fits Eibar tactics perfectly, giving them the width and delivery they look to have in their wingers. Left-footed left-wingers have become a rare commodity in current football and Bryan Gil has everything one could expect from a player in that position.
Unless an irresistible offer arrives from top clubs in the EPL, Bundesliga or even La Liga, Bryan Gil will surely play for Sevilla next season. He’s already been compared to the biggest product of the Andalusian side and current captain Jesús Navas because of his dribbling and crossing abilities. If Bryan Gil’s career gets anywhere near Navas’, then we’ll be lucky to watch one of the few talented pure wingers left in world football.