Man Utd target Adryan fails to light up the Copinha
Last summer Adryan, 17, came close to following Brazil Under-17 team-mate to English shores, so close in fact that many Manchester United fan-sites still report that he has signed for the club. In fact, Adryan signed a new deal at Flamengo and now, 2012 threatens to be a crucial year in his development.
It has already started poorly for the young prodigy, as his Flamengo side crashed out of the prestigious Copa São Paulo de Futebol Júnior competition in the first-round, following three consecutive draws in the group-stage. Adryan showed brief glimpses of his talent, but never seized control of games, as he had done at the World Cup last year and struggled against the increased physicality of defenders.
That said, it would be unfair to judge the attacking-midfielder based on two and a half games. The Flamengo side also included Thomás and Muralha in midfield, both of whom played several first-team games last season and still failed to inspire this side.
Yet, the fact remains that this season is important for Adryan. He is now coming to a stage where he needs to continue his development with an exposure to first-team football and with the wealth of options Flamengo have in his position, it seems unlikely for the immediate future.
One potential opportunity for the youngster is the State Championships, as Flamengo's first-choice side will be kept fresh for the Copa Libertadores. This could present Adryan, Thomás and Muralha with a chance to shine, which if taken could propel them to the forefront of Vanderlei Luxemburgo's thoughts, just as team-mate Negueba acheived last season.
For now however, the onus is on Adryan to prove himself. If he does not get the chance at senior level in the State Championships, we may well be back here in the same place next season, following a year of stagnation at Under-17 level.