Few people know that Felipe Gutierrez – who honed his skills at Deportes Temuco and Vina del Mar club Everton before making his top-flight debut at Universidad Catolica at the tender age of 18 – was present in the Chile camp during the 2010 FIFA World Cup South Africa™.
Though not part of Marcelo Bielsa's 23-man squad, the midfielder was one of several youngsters taken along to help the first team train and prepare for matches, marking him out as one to watch in the future.
This recognition of his potential was vindicated by subsequent events. After helping La UC win the league that same year with a number of impressive displays and crucial goals in big games, Gutierrez captured the award for the best breakthrough player in the 2011 Apertura and then made an assured transition to European football with Twente in 2012. He swapped the Netherlands for Spain when Betis came calling, but has since returned to South America with Brazilian outfit Internacional.
Gutierrez was a virtual ever-present in the Chile set-up under both Claudio Borghi and Jorge Sampaoli, who were fans of his creative talents, clean striking of the ball and versatility. Indeed, he shone towards the end of the Brazil 2014 qualifying campaign and featured in all four of Chile's encounters at the tournament.
Gutierrez was also involved in the 2015 Copa America triumph, albeit only making a single appearance, but he sat out the Copa America Centenario success due to injury. Nevertheless, when fit and healthy, current La Roja coach Juan Antonio Pizzi has consistently shown faith in him as a utility man.