Alan Souza, Paulinho, Marcos Antonio and Gabriel Brazao all grabbed the headlines at FIFA U-17 World Cup, but top-quality performances were already expected of them heading into the tournament, with the European heavyweights such as Real Madrid, Barcelona and Chelsea queuing up for their signatures for some time now. Victor Bobsin, Brazil’s lanky central midfielder, however, despite being a vital cog in the Brazil youth side that won Campeonato Sudamericano Sub-17 was expected to only play a supporting role, and he did so, with flair.
Sitting in front of the Brazil back four, he dictated the speed of the game, akin to the player he models his game after: Sergio Busquets. Hardly the one to stick his foot out or outmuscle the attackers, he relied on his exceptional reading of the game to win the ball back, which he did rather frequently having learnt the nuances of defence as a defender early in his career.
With Marcos Antonio and Alan Souza playmaking ahead of him, Brazil hardly had to bank on his attacking prowess, and he seldom partook in the attacking-third happenings, accordingly. However, his immense passing range and knack for sublime passes made him the conductor of the orchestra, with a major chunk of his passes often ensuing in a shot on target after three or fewer touches.
Not a finished product, yet
Standing at 6ft tall at a tender age of 17, the Porto Alegre-born teenager plays to his strength as he seems to win aerial duels more often than he loses those. His level-headedness and tendency to be in the referee’s good books make him a calming presence in any squad.
He, however, is far from a finished product, though, as there are aspects of his game that need fine-tuning.
Tackling and strength, in particular, aren’t his forte. Plus, his decision making and positional awareness sometimes become major concerns a quarter hour into the second half as fatigue sets in.
The Brazil coach, Carlos Amadeu, thus, resorted to substituting him in the second half. However, with at least five more years of physical development to look forward to, he will ostensibly boost his stamina.
“Competition for the defensive midfield spot is huge, because the best teams in the world play with just one defensive midfielder, but I’ll work hard to one day play with Casemiro and Fernandinho,” said the Gremio teenager, when asked if he faces stiff competition for his place in the national set-up.
Despite the competition, he remained a mainstay in Brazil’s South American Under-17 Football Championship and FIFA U-17 World Cup sides. The experience he’s gained at the base of the midfields for Brazil U-17 and Gremio U-20 at this stage of his career is certain to give him the cutting edge over other defensive midfielders of his age group.
Although he hasn’t broken into Gremio’s senior side, on the back of his good work in India, Gremio gaffer Renato Portaluppi will be tempted to incorporate him in his first-team plans. Additionally, his chances of transforming his youth-team laurels to the senior side are quite high, given his superb chemistry with the rest of the starting XI.
However, despite his ceiling, he’s currently not on the level as his close friend Paulinho or Alan Souza. That said, he won’t be plying his trade in Brasileirão for very long, as a move to Serie A or Ligue 1 is on the horizon in the event of his keeping up his progress.
Plus, the player’s simple family background, cool temperament and desire to play in England or Spain will ensure his early fame doesn’t get into his head, so his keeping up his progress is expected.
In safe hands
Represented by Vinicius Prates, who has brokered deals for Juventus’ Rogério Oliveira da Silva and former Arsenal, Juventus and Tottenham Hotspur target Leandro Damião, he has been garnering interests from numerous clubs from outside of Brazil, according to the agent who spoke exclusively to us.
Given the fact that he can prove a commodity – a midfielder who can do it all – that’s always on high demand, he may find himself a crucial part of a top European side or, at the very least, a Major League Soccer or Chinese Super League side; however, his future largely depends on what he does at Gremio, where he earned his first professional contract in May 2016, in the next couple of years.
Written by Praveen Paramasivam
Follow Praveen on Twitter @PraveenR_P
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