When you think of Brazilian players, flamboyance is the first descriptive term that springs to mind. The likes of Ronaldinho, Rivaldo and Ronaldo are three names that are regularly associated with the Seleção, and rightly so. However, there is one Tottenham Hotspur player that is shooting to prominence all too hastily at the moment; Sandro.
When it comes to stereotypical Brazilian midfielders, the 23-year-old isn’t one of them. No, Brazilian midfielders are those that can instigate a move with the drop of a shoulder or a cheeky nutmeg. The ones that can leave fans on the edge of their seat, producing a moment of magic in the blink of an eye.
Needless to say, Sandro isn’t one of these midfielders, far from it in fact. The youngster is the man providing the necessary steel in the middle of the park that perfectly complements his current partner in crime, Mousa Dembele.
Once Scott Parker picked up his injury during Euro 2012, some were fretting about the holding midfielder and who would fill the gap. Sandro performed admirably in the tailend of last season, with his teammate sitting out with an Achilles problem that almost saw him miss the European Championship.
The youngster is the man providing the necessary steel in the middle of the park
The run of games once again showcased his capability to the watching world, which has seen glimpses of his quality, albeit, not enough. The problem with Sandro has been his recent injuries that have kept him sidelined sporadically across the campaign.
Last year, he sustained a knee injury during the Copa America with Brazil, missing pre-season and the opening games of Spurs’ campaign. Throughout the duration of the season, Sandro suffered niggling injuries that saw him fail to garner a run of games together.
However, Sandro has continued his form from last season and certainly taken it into this one. Clearly impressing Andre Villas-Boas over the summer, captaining Brazil to a silver medal at the Olympics, has seen him feature predominantly under the 34-year-old, starting eight of the club’s 10 games this season.
His recent performance during the 2-0 win over Aston Villa proved how effective he is in the Spurs midfield. Breaking up the play with minimal ease before laying it off to the likes of Dembele, Clint Dempsey, Aaron Lennon and Gareth Bale to flex their creative muscles.
Sandro suffered niggling injuries that saw him fail to garner a run of games together
Furthermore, his engine means when he lays the ball off, he is keen to break forward and support the attack, witnessed on numerous occasions this season. It is this attitude that has seen him warm to the Spurs faithful, while impressing Villas-Boas to warrant his starting spot.
Sandro was absolutely pivotal during the victory at White Hart Lane on Sunday, stifling the creative threat of Fabian Delph and Karim El Ahmadi in the middle of the park. Such was his input that many believe he deserved to be handed the man of the match award as a result.
Many have debated whether he will hold onto his starting place upon Parker’s return, but if anything; the increase in competition is a good thing. Both are two different players; the England international is more of a holding midfielder, while Sandro often looks to push on to join the attack.
Reminiscent of Arsenal’s Patrick Vieira in his heyday, a player coach Tim Sherwood compared the Brazilian beast to, seeing Sandro break forward can often be a joy to behold. His power, athleticism and technique is almost unrivalled, with Michael Essien during his peak with Chelsea showing similar characteristics.
It is this attitude that has seen him warm to the Spurs faithful, while impressing Villas-Boas to warrant his starting spot
His performances have, unsurprisingly, attracted interest from clubs across the continent, with AC Milan and AS Roma both keen on the 23-year-old prior to signing a new deal last year with Spurs. It’s a huge sign of intent by the club and the player, both of whom appear to be a perfect match for each other.
Sandro certainly provides the strength in the middle of the park that Spurs have desperately lacked in recent seasons, despite the arrival of Parker. Now a key member of Villas-Boas’ squad, opposition players best be afraid when the 34-year-old allows the Beast, whose bite is worse than his bark, off his leash.
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