Julio Enciso signed for Brighton & Hove Albion in June 2022. Fast forward a year and the Paraguay international has been soaring high for the Seagulls.
Enciso arrived in East Sussex after an impressive 21/22 season with Club Libertad - where the then 18-year-old scored 11 goals and bagged three assists in 14 league appearances. The forward made his debut for Brighton in the Carabao Cup before making his first Premier League appearance in the club’s 4-1 win over Chelsea last autumn. After bagging back-to-back league goals, Enciso helped Roberto De Zerbi’s side earn the club’s first-ever win at Stamford Bridge; he also clocked two assists in Brighton’s biggest-ever league win against Wolves, after beating the Midlands’ side 6-0.
All in all, 22/23 saw Enciso make 20 league appearances, racking up four goals and two assists in the process, but perhaps his biggest achievement was his 25-yard strike against Manchester City to seal Europa League football for Brighton; a goal that later won the young Paraguayan Premier League Goal of the Season.
There are young ballers tipped for greatness, and then there’s Julio Enciso.
VERSUS sat down with Enciso to talk about what he thinks of PUMA’s latest ‘Energy Pack’ boot drop, how he’s settled into English football and his incredible start to last season.
“I really like the colours of the ‘Energy Pack’. They’re bold and that’s really important because we are artists.”
VERSUS: Julio, what did you first think when you saw PUMA’s latest ‘Energy Pack’?
Julio Enciso: I really like the colours of the ‘Energy Pack’. They’re bold and that’s really important because we are artists. We need our boots to be colourful because we like people to watch us perform on the pitch. I think these boots are perfect for putting on a show for our fans – and we all know how important that is.
VERSUS: You joined Brighton last summer, how have you found moving to and living in England?
Julio: I am not a fan of the language, but that’s only because I am still in the process of learning English! I will eventually get there, and I am sure I’ll end up loving it. But I am really proud to be playing for Brighton in what’s the best league in the world, the Premier League.
VERSUS: Are there any players at the club who’ve made you feel at home?
Julio: I speak to Moisés (Caicedo), Pervis (Estupiñán) and Jeremy (Sarmiento) the most – the Spanish speaking players, of course! They’ve been really welcoming and have made such a big effort to make sure I feel settled at the club – something I really appreciate.
VERSUS: You’ve already made an impression since arriving in England. Your performance against Arsenal towards the end of last season for example. How are you finding playing in the Premier League?
Julio: Like I mentioned before, this is the most competitive league out there. Everyone grows up wanting to, at least one day, play in the Premier League – I think so anyway. And it fills me with such huge emotion being able to play – and perform well – against a club like Arsenal. To get a goal in that specific game, wow. These are the feelings and moments I’ve dreamed of my whole life. I am really proud of myself for turning those dreams into realities.
“Playing in the Premier League, I’ve dreamed of it my whole life. I am really proud of myself for turning my dreams into realities.”
VERSUS: Did you ever picture yourself scoring at a stadium like The Emirates?
Julio: That ground has a lot of history, and so does the club, so playing there generally – let alone when we needed to get the win – it’s always going to feel special. But knowing we needed to get as many points from that game as possible, it just made my goal even more amazing.
VERSUS: Did you feel like you had a responsibility to perform in that game, or do you apply a lot of responsibility to your game overall?
Julio: I feel I have a responsibility to perform every time I step onto the pitch because I always want to play my best football, but I do try not to apply too much pressure. Instead I try to enjoy these moments when they come, that’s very important to me. Scoring against clubs like Arsenal of course makes me really happy, but it’s also about me making sure I am having fun. That’s when I play my best football.
VERSUS: How do you make sure you’re energised for your games?
Julio: Recovery. It’s one of the most important parts of any athlete’s life. Like I said, I do think a lot about working hard every single day that comes my way, and making sure that I work harder than the day before and that includes my recovery. Making sure I am getting enough rest, eating well, relaxing and doing things I enjoy outside of football. So when I do get on the pitch, I am the best I can be.
“I do think a lot about working hard every single day that comes my way, and making sure that I work harder than the day before.”
VERSUS: And so you can continue to score against some of the best Premier League clubs ever to exist?
Julio: Exactly. You know it.
Images and design by Sam Pembs for VERSUS.