The phrase ‘Brazilian wonderkid’ is one of football’s most overused, but could the latest youngster to be tagged with it, Kenedy, be the real deal?
The Fluminense attacker first came to prominence in 2013, garnering glowing media reports as he starred for the Tricolor Under-18 side that won the Al Kass International Cup in Qatar.
Fast-forward two years and the 19-year-old, now a regular starter for Flu’s senior team, is being heavily linked with a big money move to either Manchester United or Chelsea.
Kenedy has admitted he would love the chance to test himself abroad, telling press: “Of course, I am happy to play for Fluminense but it is my ambition to one day play in Europe. I like Chelsea because of players like Oscar and Ramires. I like the whole team.”
‘The new Neymar’
In reporting the links, the English media has been quick to dub Kenedy ‘the new Neymar’, while Spanish newspaper Mundo Deportivo compared him to Hulk. In truth his style is somewhere between the two, with a splash of Arjen Robben thrown into the mix.
The youngster’s stocky build, strength and the sight of defenders bouncing off him are reminiscent of Hulk, while he also possesses Neymar’s silky skills, blistering pace and the ability to play on either wing or up front. Perhaps his best position, though, is on the right-flank where, like Robben, he often looks to cut in and unleash left-footed thunderbolts on goal.
Fluminense coaches have also praised Kenedy for his tactical awareness and excellent technique, however he has been criticised in some quarters for an overreliance on his left-foot, and he would need to work on the defensive side of his game in order to succeed in English football.
One area in which he certainly does not lack is confidence. Off the pitch, friends describe him as extroverted – one look at his Instagram confirms this – and Kenedy is just as uninhibited on the field. This was in clear evidence at the South American Under-20 Championships earlier this year, during which he attempted an audacious lob of the Uruguayan goalkeeper from inside his own half and also sent Twitter wild with a fantastic elastico nutmeg against Argentina.
Kenedy had already starred for Brazil at the Under-17 continental championships in 2013, where he scored six goals, and, if he continues at his current rate of development, it is surely only a matter of time before he receives a call up to Dunga’s senior squad.
Written by Calum Leahy
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