Jose Miguel Saraiva writes a detailed scout report about Sporting Club de Portugal’s midfielder, Wendel.
The 2018/19 pre-season has been quite chaotic for Sporting Lisbon, with 9 first team players terminating their contracts and the beginning of pre-season being delayed. Amidst this trainwreck though, the youngest players have been given their chances in the Sporting Lisbon friendly matches and Wendel is one of them.
Who is Wendel?
Marcus Wendel Valle da Silva is a Brazilian midfielder who was born in the region of Duque de Caxias, Brazil, on the 28th of August of 1997. This youngster started his football career in his local team Tigres in only 2014, at the age of 17, which may be considered a very late beginning, if we consider the age at which most football players start playing officially. Wendel also had trials with Benfica but ended up being dismissed and went back to his home country. The legendary Brazilian club Fluminense spotted him and at the age of 18, Wendel signed for “Flu”. After playing in the Fluminense youth teams for 2 seasons, the first team coach Abel Braga called Wendel to play for the Fluminense A team, at the age of 20. Wendel is definitely a precocious talent and the frantic start to his career proves that.
In 2017, the season in which he started playing for the first team, Wendel showed a great deal of talent and an amazing physical capacity, which led him to earn the status of an irreplaceable player. Nevertheless, a few months after he was promoted to the first team, he faced some disciplinary problems thanks to his behaviour off the field. Of course, this won him some time away from the team. However, the punishment seemed to work and Wendel got back to playing in the first team and to performing well.
Talent Radar Accolades
Since the beginning of the 2017/18 season, Wendel has been all over the front pages of the sports newspapers in Europe, but Sporting Lisbon actually won the race against various others major European clubs and signed him on an €8m transfer. Wendel made a total of 57 appearances for the Fluminense first team, scoring 7 goals. At the start of the current season, he has been starring in the Sporting Lisbon starting XI in friendly games and it already seems that a positive season is coming up.
What is his Style of Play?
Wendel is a typical box-to-box midfielder but he can also play as a defensive midfielder or an attacking midfielder. His main characteristics make him a valuable player in terms of securing the team at the back and pushing the game onwards, supporting his teammates in attacking situations but also playing a major part in the defensive transition. Being a box-to-box player, he doesn’t typically take on attack constructing tasks, instead being a support midfielder that goes up and down the field in accordance with the needs of the team. He is very important in transporting the ball during attacking manoeuvres and in recovering the ball in defensive situations. Nevertheless, Wendel can also play the part of a defensive midfielder who is the main builder of the game from the back, or the attacking midfielder who supports the forwards and connects the midfield to the players in the last third of the terrain, also creating chances to score goals, both for his teammates and for himself. Wendel is a rather versatile player, but he definitely plays better as a box-to-box midfielder, who is entrusted with both defensive and attacking responsibilities, and is attributed the responsibility of carrying the ball forward to help the team’s transitions.
What are his Strengths?
Wendel has some particular skills that make him a very promising and valuable player. Firstly, he has a great deal of physical ability, which turns him into a true defensive presence and, at the same time, a very competent attacker. It allows him to recuperate the ball and deliver it to one of his teammates, but also allows him to carry the ball forward quickly, leaving the opposition unbalanced.
Secondly, his technical skills are somewhat overwhelming, especially if we take into consideration that Wendel only started his “true” football career at the age of 17. His dribbling skills are astounding, which benefits him when he carries the ball forward, and his passing ability is also of a superior quality.
Thirdly, and most evidently, Wendel has an incredibly good long shot. Most of the goals he scored for Fluminense were from long-range shots.
What are his Weaknesses?
Wendel, as stated before, is a very young player, and has arrived in European football only 20 years old. Although he displays all the stereotypical Brazilian-football qualities, especially his amazing technical skill, he also suffers from the stereotypical Brazilian-football flaws, such as tactical discipline (or lack thereof). We’ve witnessed several cases of South-American players that never fit into European teams, exactly due to the enormous tactical complexity that characterises the European football. Sporting Lisbon’s manager, Jorge Jesus, actually stated in a press conference that it was highly unlikely that Wendel would be able to gain some space in the starting XI in the second half of the 2017/18 season, because he still had a lot to learn about tactics and correct some specific flaws in his game.
Wendel is undoubtedly a very talented young player and if things go the right way, we will be hearing a lot about him in the future, but in order to be successful at Sporting Lisbon, he will certainly need to work hard and to improve on some tactical aspects of the game. Putting it briefly, Wendel is still a rough diamond that requires a fair deal of polishing, but if he is able to put together his technical skills and a profound tactical knowledge, he will surely become an important player in the near future.
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