Less than a week on from Diyaeddine Abzi’s shock move to Ligue 2’s Pau FC, another Canadian star in the making appears to be on their way to Europe. Cavalry FC’s Victor Loturi has caught the eye this season for Tommy Wheeldon Jr.’s team, starting nine of their ten matches in his second full season at the club.
Loturi has been a stalwart and a mainstay in Wheeldon Jr.’s plans, featuring in eight matches as a central midfielder, and even two filling in as an out-and-out right-back in the face of injuries. Coming out of the Calgary youth ranks and Wheeldon Jr.’s old Calgary Foothills, Loturi has been destined to stardom since making his professional debut in 2019. Since making two appearances that season, the box-to-box midfielder has only grown in his role and importance for the Cavs, and has now caught the attention of Ross County in the Scottish Premiership. So with that, we take a look at why Victor Loturi has caught the eye this season, and predict how he will fare in Scotland.
Victor Loturi has been an absolute menace for the Cavs this season, operating as a box-to-box midfielder and true number 8, alongside a more defensively-minded midfielder like Charlie Trafford, or a tempo setting sitter like Elliot Simmons. His up-and-down mobility has presented key advantages for both himself and the Cavs in possession, helping keep the tempo high and providing variability to their attacking play. Wheeldon Jr.’s team smartly utilize rotations in their build-up to progression, whereby players like Ali Musse may drop toward the ball, and the likes of Loturi may float up in response. The Canadian’s visual awareness to recognize the movement of his teammates and respond accordingly remains high, and presents the case for a 21-year-old that may just be beyond his years in positional sense and awareness.
His heatmap (provided by SofaScore), wonderfully illustrates his right-sided mobility, with his ‘red’ spots shining bright toward the touchline than most in his position. In some ways, that’s down to the two matches he’s played as a right-back for Cavalry. Despite it not being his natural position, the 21-year-old fulfilled the role excellently in both cases, smartly showcasing his ‘box-to-box’ mentality and astute awareness of timing on when to advance into the attack. He’s also played several matches this season on the left of the double pivot, equally capable in both roles.
With the ball at his feet, Loturi can nicely advance the ball in all the right notes from progressive passing to carrying to his solid enough 50% dribbling success. But he’s more likely to cause damage through positioning and movement off the ball, creating space for others like Musse and Pepple to cause the damage. This is an underrated quality for any midfielder to possess, but a vital one for a team like Cavalry that persist in attacking with effervescent energy. In their slower moments of tempo setting and circulation, Loturi still buzzes around, pulling his markers out of position so that others can progress the ball up the field.
With this positional intelligence and off-the-ball mobility, Ross County have signed a player who essentially does not do anything overly flashy, but will nicely help to support the cast and crew around him. This can range from getting the best out of star players and creating space for them to work their magic, to making himself available for triangulations and progressive passes up the field. With the ball at his feet the young Canadian can still be trusted, completing 84% of his passes and nearly 1 key pass per game. But more than anything else, Malky Mackay’s men have found a player who does the bulk of his best work off the ball, whether his team have possession or not.
OUT OF POSSESSION
Loturi’s stats fail to see any major spikes in attacking phases, but he contributes massively at the other end of the pitch. This again ranges from aspects of proactive defending (like tackles and interceptions) to his astute positional awareness (like compacting the field, supporting his teammates and shuffling with the play). But again, it’s less about sheer numbers and volume when it comes to Loturi, and more about timing, awareness and facilitating the best out of the players around him. Sound in selecting moments to dive in, Loturi has won 50% of his tackles this season, and an impressive 0.6 blocks per game – the second most in Cavalry’s ranks.
But unlike Charlie Trafford or a terrier like Jose Escalante, he’s not one of the midfield men consistently breaking up the play and destroying the opposition through brute force. He’s more likely to slot in alongside an experienced pro more adept at screening, shuffling and disrupting, and then deal with his 1v1 battles when required.
Loturi also nicely supports Cavalry’s pressing intentions, providing the steel and force in running power to limit the opposition’s time on the ball. He may make himself the final member of a pressing diamond high up the pitch to support the front three, or retreat back into position to shuffle alongside his midfield partner.
If he steps too far out of position to press the opposition, gaps can open in midfield. So in his quest to cover ground both vertically and horizontally (which he has the mobility to handle), Loturi will need to continue to refine his pressing positioning, particularly if he is pushed higher up the pitch, or alongside someone less capable of covering the brunt of the defensive responsibilities. Nevertheless, Loturi remains a force to be reckoned with that most midfielders in the league would not want to face. His tireless work ethic off the ball make him a valuable asset for any team, and that is precisely why he’s started all but one match this season.
All and all, Ross County have made a smart signing in Victor Loturi, who will provide the Scottish team with a vast array of box-to-box running power, pressing intensity, and versatile intelligence. County boss Malky Mackay already has two Canadian players at his disposal to help Loturi settle in (brothers Harry and Ben Paton), and this could easily be a move that helps the youngster continue his development toward some day playing for the Canadian Men’s National Team. We commend Victor Loturi on his move, and will dearly miss watching the 21-year-old in the Canadian Premier League.
So there it is! Why Victor Loturi caught the attention of Ross County. Be sure to check out more of our Player Analyses, CANPL content, and don’t forget to follow on social media @desmondrhys and @mastermindsite. Thanks for reading and see you soon!
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