Mile Svilar, 18, has been making the headlines recently for all the wrong reasons, but we shouldn’t be so short sighted.
Benfica, domestically Portugal’s most successful football club, are becoming notorious for their development of top tier young talent. Brazilian goalkeeper Ederson and Swedish defender Victor Lindelof are two of the latest players to have left the club for big money, both heading to Manchester, City and United respectively.
At Benfica, young players are given more freedom to show their talent, this differs with other popular European football leagues. Take the Premier League for example, young players at big clubs are often sent out on loan or stuck in the academy waiting for opportunities to arise.
Opportunities are very hard to come by with the biggest clubs unwilling to risk losing out on title races and domestic success by fielding inexperienced young talent.
Bags of talent
Mile Svilar has now faced up against Manchester United twice in the Champions League, on both occasions, he has at times looked vulnerable yet somewhat more than capable.
There is evidently work needed with this young Belgian goalkeeper to reach the very top of the game today, but what is also evident is the ‘kid’ has bags of talent!
There are obvious similarities to David De Gea’s start at Manchester United. Young inexperienced, sloppy, not strong enough etc. A goalkeeper that was written off before his career had kicked-off. Look at him now…arguably the best in the world!
Benfica boss Rui Vitoria clearly believes in Svilar and described the youngster’s future as ‘rosy’.
With the belief of the manager, Svilar is free to continue his brave exploits. A goalkeeper not shy to come off his line and risk humiliation, not least in the Champions League, but against Manchester United at Old Trafford in front of 75,000 supporters and the millions watching from home.
It’s not often when watching my beloved United, I see an opposing player and I feel refreshed. Refreshed that such braveness, such willingness to test one-self exists in the game today, where the top managers demands are so pressured, that one mistake could spell the end.
If Svilar was playing in England, I don’t see one manager that would say ‘you know what, he’s my goalkeeper’. We’re too protective of players in this country, we want our talent to do well, but we actively avoid allowing players the platform where mistakes become costly.
At Benfica, Svilar can make mistakes and they will still believe in him, he is still their goalkeeper. I admire this attitude, you must make mistakes to be able learn from them.
I wish Svilar all the best and hope to see him in goal at the theatre of dreams again…in home colours.
Written by Jordan Hackett
Follow Jordan on Twitter @Devildart180
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