The City Ground

Whilst football fans in Europe are focused on this summer’s European Championships, Copa America is well underway in Brazil.

Star names on show include Neymar, Lionel Messi and Edinson Cavani.

Amongst those involved is former Nottingham Forest academy graduate Ben Brereton, who now owes his national allegiance to Chile.

He became a national hero over the weekend, scoring the only goal in la Rojas 1-0 victory over Bolivia on Friday.

That was his first international goal for the South American nation, in only his second appearance- and first start- in the international arena.

The striker made his debut as a second-half substitute a week earlier in Chile’s opening game against an Argentina side featuring the likes of Lionel Messi and Sergio Aguero, which finished 1-1.

Born in Stoke-on-Trent, he played for both the England under 19s and under 20s, making 19 appearances in the national youth system.

He qualified for Chile through his mother, who is a Chilean citizen after being born in the country and switched his allegiance in order to feature in the Copa America this summer.

A highly rated youngster, he was snapped up by the reds in 2015 and quickly impressed at the club, making his debut in 2017 as an 18-year-old.

The Chilean went on to make 57 first team appearances for Forest, before moving to Blackburn in 2019 for a reported fee of £7m.

His career has stagnated slightly at Blackburn, nine goals in 64 matches is perhaps not the return that many expected of him when the marksman left the City Ground four years ago.

He will hope that exposure and experience at an international tournament will help him take his game to the next level.

Chile have an excellent chance of progressing from the group stages of the tournament after picking up four points from their opening two matches.

They are in action again tonight, when they face Uruguay.