Jose Miguel Saraiva provides a detailed scout report on Iuri Medeiros, Sporting Lisbon’s next prodigy.
I believe that many football fans are getting tired of reading or hearing about Sporting Lisbon’s academy, especially when it comes to raising talented wingers. Everyone knows the successful stories of Cristiano Ronaldo, Simão Sabrosa, Quaresma, Nani, Luís Figo, amongst others, and, more recently, bright young wingers like Podence and Gelson Martins.
The player that will be analysed in the following article is set to become the next Portuguese prodigy and his name is Iuri Medeiros.
Who is Iuri Medeiros?
Iuri José Picanço Medeiros was born in Faial, Azores, on the 10th July 1994. He joined Sporting Lisbon in 2005, when he was only 11 years old. He then played for 8 seasons in a row in the Sporting Lisbon youth teams. In his last season in the U19 team (2012/13), Iuri scored 4 goals in 24 matches, and in that same season he played 10 times for the Sporting Lisbon senior B team. In the season of 2013/14, 19-year-old Iuri Medeiros played the whole season for the B team, having played 39 matches and scored 10 goals. The three following seasons were not entirely successful for the youngster, as he didn’t manage to nail down a spot in the Sporting Lisbon A team, always ending up being loaned to other Portuguese teams.
In 2014/15, he played on loan for Arouca F.C. from January until the end of the season, performing at a good level and scoring 3 goals in 18 matches. In the first half of the season, he remained in the B team, figuring in 18 matches, scoring 2 goals. Given his good performances in Arouca F.C., everyone was hoping he would stay in the Sporting Lisbon A team in 2015/16 but coach Jorge Jesus was not convinced, and Iuri ended up being loaned to Moreirense, becoming a crucial player to the team and performing amazingly, having scored 10 goals in 34 matches. Still, 2016/17 was still not Iuri’s first season in Sporting Lisbon, as coach Jesus preferred loaning him to another first-tier Portuguese club so that he’d gain more experience and develop his skills in a team he would certainly play regularly.
So, he played on loan for Boavista during the whole 2016/17, and was success, drawing the attention of the whole country and especially of the Sporting Lisbon fans. He is now expected to stay in the team and to play regularly in this 2017/18 season, as he has been doing very well in this pre-season. Also, the departure of players like Joel Campbell and Bryan Ruiz, and the fact that Gelson Martins is the most coveted player in the squad, may lead Jorge Jesus to not send him away again, to ensure a fair number of quality solutions to that position.
Iuri Medeiros’ international career is also very promising. He made his international debut for the Portuguese national U17 team and since then he has always been present in the other Portuguese national youth teams. For the U21 team, he has played 19 matches and scored 1 goal. More recently, he was present in the U21 2017 European Championship, where his performances led to him coming to the notice of fans across Europe and to be considered one of the biggest revelations of the tournament.
What is his Style of Play?
Medeiros is a winger and plays best on the right hand side. He is left-footed and he usually makes use of it to cut to the centre and deliver dangerous crosses or even to shoot. His wide range of technical skills and his pace allow him to be a destabilizer for the opposite defence and to seek (and succeed in) many 1 v 1 situations close to the opposite goal.
He carries the game onwards with his sprints and his irreverence and is often the main creative player in the last third of the field, that creates scoring opportunities for his teammates and for himself.
What are his Strengths?
Iuri Medeiros’ strengths are his technical ability, his perfect crossing capacity, his pace and his free-kick taking ability. Iuri is a very technically developed player, which leads to him seldom losing the ball. It also enables him to successfully lead the attacks of the team he plays in, together with his pace, through incisive movement or 1 v 1 situations, usually followed by quality crosses or shots. He is also a fantastic free-kick executor and has scored a fair number of goals through direct free-kicks. In January 2017, he had an amazing game in a Boavista match against Benfica that ended 3-3, having scored 1 goal through a direct free-kick, and made two assists, one of them also through a free-kick cross.
What are his Weaknesses?
There are some aspects on which Iuri Medeiros needs to improve. He must gain some more physical resistance, as he often takes some months to achieve his best shape in a season, and to succeed in a big team, one cannot ‘lose’ 1 or 2 months in each season.
Secondly, Iuri needs to be a more consistent player. I believe one of the reasons why he hasn’t been able to secure a place in a club like Sporting Lisbon is because he is somewhat inconsistent and irregular, as he may play at a great level in one or two matches and then disappear completely in the following match. A big team needs to have players on which it can rely and Medeiros must improve on that.
Additionally, a quick and technically developed player needs not only those tools to succeed, but a consequent way of playing, meaning a tactical behaviour that doesn’t focus on overcoming the opposite players with dribbles, but on playing in a way through which he can create dangerous scoring opportunities. Iuri Medeiros sometimes makes this last mistake and I believe that playing under Jorge Jesus’ command will allow him to correct it.
He is obviously a young player and he has time to improve on every less positive aspect and his performances over the last three seasons, as well as in the last U21 Euro, have been more than sufficient to earn him a place in the Sporting Lisbon main squad this season.
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