Jose Miguel Saraiva writes a detailed scout report about Daniel Podence, the Portugal and Sporting Lisbon prodigy.
Despite not having been able to achieve Portuguese Primeira Liga’s champion position in the last 15 years, Sporting Lisbon keeps on raising amazing players and its youth teams’ prestige and wonderful results make Sporting Lisbon a true Academy of football prodigies. Alongside with recent famous Sporting Lisbon revelations, such as Gelson Martins, João Mário or William Carvalho, one of this season’s most stunning revelations is Daniel Podence.
Who is Daniel Podence?
Born in Oeiras, Lisbon, Daniel Podence started playing football quite early for the Portuguese team “Os Belenenses” and in 2005, 10-year-old Podence caught the eye of the Sporting Lisbon scouts and moved there, having played for 8 years in the Sporting Lisbon’s unbeatable youth teams.
In the season of 2012/13, 17-year-old Podence made his debut for Sporting Lisbon’s senior B Team, which plays in the Portuguese 2nd League, having played 6 games in that season. In the following seasons, he was given more opportunities to play for the B team and in the season of 2014/15, at the age of 19, coach Marco Silva gave him the chance to play, for the first time, for Sporting Lisbon’s A team. He was already an irreplaceable player in the senior B team, having played 31 matches in the Portuguese 2nd league that season, scoring 3 goals.
This past season, 2016/17, he started playing on loan for Moreirense FC but his undisputable quality, and also the crisis that the Sporting Lisbon’s main squad suffered, led coach Jorge Jesus to order his return to the ‘mothership’ on January. He played 13 games for Sporting Lisbon and became one of the most admired and cherished players of the team.
Regarding international achievements, he played 1 match for the U18 portuguese national team and another one for the U20s. So far, in the U21 portuguese national team, he has played 6 matches, having scored two goals, earning the statute of an essential player to the team. He was summoned by the Portuguese U21 coach to play the 2017 U21 European Championship.
What is his style of play?
Daniel Podence is a rather versatile player. He can play as winger, centre midfielder, attacking midfielder or forward. He has a great power of ‘explosion’, which encumbers his opponents due to his extreme velocity and his tendency to make breaking vertical passes that endanger the opposing defence’s efficacy.
His ‘natural’ position is that of right winger, where he often seeks 1v1 situations and is an expert in cutting in to the centre of the field to try a long-distance shot but also in proficiently dribbling the ball for several meters to dangerously cross it.
Coach Jorge Jesus as used him more often as a second forward, playing behind the number 9 element, and Podence has proved to also be very effective in a more central position, where he seeks the spaces in-between the defensive and midfield lines of the opposing team and is able to create lots of scoring opportunities for his teammates.
What are his strengths?
His main attributes are, undoubtedly, his wide range of technical skills, as well as his velocity and the intensity with which he competes in every single match.
Starting with the intensity attribute, this is something that goes frequently unnoticed but is of the utmost importance to a football player who wishes to thrive in the main championships of the world. Whoever watches a Sporting Lisbon match is able to realise that there is a Sporting Lisbon without Podence and there is another Sporting Lisbon with Podence which is positively different. His intensity allows him to gain an advantage in various situations during the match and to stupefy the opposing players, as well as giving his team an improved offensive dynamic.
When it comes to technical resources, it is frankly pitiful to watch the opposing defenders being successively overcome, overridden and outpaced by Daniel Podence, who seldom is merciful. To be technically good doesn’t mean that someone is able to do acrobatics with the ball, but instead it means that a player can receive the ball in a perfect way, position himself correctly according to the ball’s trajectory and speed, escape from high-pressure situations without losing control of the ball, and many other details that define a good football player. Podence is impressively perfect when it comes to situations like those and he will sure be able to reach really high levels of technical performance.
Finally, Daniel Podence is also able to impress whoever watches him with his stunning velocity. Velocity is about how fast a player runs, but also about how quickly he decides and executes a certain action. These two are often unmentioned but they are determining. Podence is an incredibly fast player in every one of these three dimensions and that is really one of the reasons why he is such an effective, productive and dangerous player.
What are his weaknesses?
Daniel Podence has two main weaknesses.
Firstly, he lacks some physical strength, given that he is also very short (1,65 m), and that makes it difficult for him sometimes to gain advantage in midfield disputes. However, he makes up for his lack of strength with a very combative attitude and intense playing.
Secondly, he is not quite a goal-scorer. For a forward or an offensive midfielder, he does not score as many goals as would be expected. This past season, he scored only 4 goals in 18 for Moreirense FC, and 0 goals in 13 games for Sporting Lisbon, although he didn’t play those many minutes per game in the second half of the season, while in Sporting Lisbon. His relation to the goal doctrine must be improved, because even though you can’t judge a player of this sort exclusively for the goals he scores, they certainly help a lot.
However, the upcoming 2017/18 season may be one of great evolution for Podence and given his age, he sure has a great margin to improve.
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