Sambafoot Sunday: Can you hear the drums Fernandinho?
Sambafoot Sunday by James Nalton. The beat goes on...
The form of Manchester City midfielder Fernandinho, has led to calls for him to be included in Luiz Felipe Scolari’s squad for the 2014 World Cup. The £30m man has become an important figure in Manuel Pellegrini’s midfield set-up, having missed just two league games this season, and none in the Champions League.
It was an uncertain start for the former Shakhtar man, despite what those currently re-writing his season history are saying, but he’s gradually emerged as a vital component in the Manchester City operation. Some slight sloppiness in both attack and defence has been ironed out, and he’s started showing the attacking nous which saw him score 53 goals during his long stint in the Ukraine.
Playing alongside Yaya Toure, he was initially stifled by the big Ivorian’s presence in midfield, where he spent more time mopping up for his team-mate than he did on his own game. However, the pair have developed an understanding, with Fernandinho becoming more adventurous as he begins to use his excellent judgement to pick the right moments to get forward. He’s proved that he’s more effective box-to-box, than as a conservative holder.
Fernandinho’s fortunes have contrasted with those of his compatriot, and current Brazil number 8, Paulinho. The Tottenham midfielder started well in the Premier League, but faded under André Villas-Boas’ ineffective system. Despite Spurs’ troubles under the Portuguese, Paulinho was one of the team’s better performers, but he was far from what you’d call “in form”.
It was always going to take something special to achieve a Seleção call-up this late in the day, with only one scheduled friendly - South Africa in Johannesburg on March 3rd - before the World Cup. There is plenty of talent competing for the two central midfield berths in the Brazil side, but Fernandinho has proven during his time in England that he can perform both roles - the deep holding player, and the box-to-box player - to great effect.
This means that he would be a great asset to Scolari’s squad, and whilst he might not make the first eleven for the start of the tournament, he can provide excellent back-up for both positions, and could well be one of those players who emerge as a tournament progresses.
With only 5 caps at the age of 28, Fernandinho has never been considered a regular for his country. Playing in the Ukraine must have hindered him, as there’s an unfortunate ignorance of some Brazilians playing in Eastern Europe, but a move to the English league has given him the best chance possible. If he stays fit in the build up to the friendly against South Africa, he could get a chance in this final trial, and in doing so could convince Scolari that he can’t afford to not select him.