Blackburn Rovers star Ben Brereton can help Chile's golden generation in their World Cup qualifiers and Copa America

He was born in Stoke on Trent, he plays for Blackburn Rovers – and Ben Brereton has now received his first international call up… for Chile.

But there is nothing forced or artificial about it. Brereton’s mother is Chilean – and that side of the family are understandably very excited to see their relative in the squad that travels to face Argentina on Thursday, and then host Bolivia five days later.

The Blackburn striker brings two important things to the Chile squad. One is youth. Brereton is 22. Many of his new international team-mates are a decade older.

Chile still depend on their golden generation, the players who won them their first ever serious silverware with triumphs in the Copa America in 2015 and 16.

Alexis Sanchez, Arturo Vidal, Gary Medel all came through the Under-20 side of 2007.

Some are even older, such as the former Premier League pair of goalkeeper Claudio Bravo and left back Jean Beausejour.

And back in March, in the only game so far under Chile’s new coach, the Uruguayan Martin Lasarte, there was a recall for one time West Ham playmaker Luis Jimenez.

In his first international for almost a decade, Jimenez scored the opening goal in a 2-1 friendly win over Bolivia, playing as a centre forward in a 4-3-3. Approaching 37, Jimenez is hardly a long term solution.

Brereton brings down the average age of the squad. And he also adds some physical power to the front line.

Lasarte was questioned about his new inclusion by the Chilean press, most of whom had barely heard of Ben Brereton.

Much of the coach’s response stressed the height and strength of the Blackburn striker – attributes, said the coach, that are in short supply in Chile and are badly needed in the team.

If Lasarte is going to stick with a 4-3-3 then Brereton would seem to be a good fit for the system. He usually operates wide, but could also fill the centre forward position if needed.

And should he make a good impression over the next few days, there will be no shortage of opportunities.

Straight after these two rounds of World Cup qualifiers comes the Copa America – almost certainly in Argentina – and then there are more qualifiers in September, October, November, January and March.

Indeed, with the pandemic causing a fixture pile up, there could well be a total of 21 international matches to be played in a ten month period.

On the road to Qatar Chile have lost both of their away games – to Uruguay and Venezuela – and picked up four points at home, drawing with Colombia and beating Peru.

It is still early days, but at the moment they lie outside the qualifying positions.

And they are still smarting about failing to make it to Russia 2018, especially as they were reigning South American champions at the time.

But in the closing stages of the Russia qualification campaign their results took a dive.

It seemed that age had caught up with their golden generation. Three years later, little progress has been made.

A fresh crop of players needs to emerge. The man from Blackburn wants to be part of a revitalised new Chile.

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