Friday, 5 February 2010

Phillipe Coutinho: What to expect

First of all, Hello to all of you. I guess it's better to start by introducing myself. I'm your correspondent from brazil! So if you're thinking of coming to brazil, send me a message. I can show you around.

But let's cut to the chase. Phillipe! The wonder kid from Saint Januário!

Coutinho could be seen since he was 16. He was a key player for every level of brazillian teams and it seems that he will be ready for 2014, when the world cup will come to brazil. But the question now is not if he's going to be ready in 2014 but in 2010/11.

Right now Vasco's manager is playing Coutinho as much as he can. Not because he doesn't have anyone better or more experienced but mainly because, as we say in brazil, he is "comendo a bola" (eating the ball, in a free translation). He is simply playing like the professional that he should become and not the one he should be. He's really the next best thing. He plays as decent and as professional as Ronaldinho and Pato in early years. He has the skills of Ronaldinho and his passing also. He carries the ball like few pro players can. Actually, when he runs with the ball he remembers Messi or Ronaldinho in his best years. He can pass through three defenders at once with two touches on the ball.
Now, I guess you'll be thinking that i'm just saying it! I'm biased! And let me tell you: I'M NOT!!

Technically, Coutinho has the skills to play forward or attacking midfield. He could easily fit in Pandev's role right now. He has excelent passing and quick thinking. He dribles like few players in the world. He's also more a box to box player and fit in with his teammates easily. His partner in attack just arrived in the team and they are already playing as if they had played for three seasons together. He also moves around a lot in the field, moving from left to right. But there's the catch. He does all this things and he's tactically excelent also. He's everywhere on the field but he's exactly where he is supposed to be. For a boy his age he developed quite fast. He knows what the coach wants and he follows the lead! He's playing forward constantly. Mainly because the manager plays Carlos Alberto as attacking midfield for obvious reason. Coutinho plays in a 4-4-2 formation that really looks like a 4-3-2-1 formation.

Of course you have to remember he's only 17 and he has much to learn. Under Mancini (yes, Vasco da Gama's manager is called Mancini) he can develop but not as much as other managers in brazil such as Muricy or Luxemburgo. Hopefully when he get to inter he'll be ready for Mourinho. He also has some work to be done. First of all his finishing. His shooting is good, but not excelent. I believe this is a problem every brazillian player has when he gets to europe, but it's also the skill they improve the most. So I'm expecting Coutinho to be completly ready by the end of the year. He doesn't finish like Pato. Far from that. Pato's main skill is his finishing, while Coutinho main skill are his dribles and crazy passes.

This year is really the year when Coutinho starts in the professional team. Last year he usually played for 20 - 25 minutes of a game. This year he starts the game. This year so far he has 2 goals and two assists. So he is responsable for 4 of the 17 goals that Vasco has this year so far. But while Vasco has played 6 games, Coutinho only started 3 of those games and came from the bench in 1 more. So actually he has good stats. Since Countinho began to start the games the scores were 4-0 and 3-0. The only game 1-0 for Vasco was today against a good defense and a bad pitch! He's always participating and helps defensively also.

The best thing about him is that he has no respect for defenders. He's just a kid! He needs more muscle. But it's not because of his lack of weight that he falls every time or loose the ball consistenly. Actually it's the opposite. He goes for it with no fear.

I can say he was an excelent buying. We may be looking at the next Ronaldinho. And I say that because unlike Balotelli or Pato or Ronaldinho himself he's very focused. He doesn't go to parties that much, you don't hear about him looking for women everywhere he goes. The first thing Pato did when he went to Milan was get some actress number to go out with. He ended up marrying the girl, but even so... He's a little bit shy also which may become a problem when going to Italy. But my guess is that he's going to handle it pretty well. His parents back him up and treat him like an adult letting him make decisions about his career.

To end this article on Coutinho I have to say: It really is good to watch him play. He has much to improve phisically and technically. He's only 17, of course he has much to learn. But I can also tell you that. By the beginning of the next season he will be ready to play for us. I hope Julio Cesar, Maicon and Lucio start talking to him put him under these guys wings. Protect him from the Italian media is the first thing to do. Let him play and keep him away from bad media. Pato started at milan like a rocket and then lost it. He's coming back now. Let's hope Coutinho won't have this down stage and keep on improving step by step.


  1. hi bro..greeting from indonesia..
    great info from brazil especially it good news about our player happy he's improve like we expected..i cant wait to see him play in black blue jersey..but he still 17 years old so i think its wise to give him much experience play in seri a,maybe on loan 1-2 years..but if he's ready play i dont think its problem if jose put him in bench,there's many player who ready play in young age like fabregas in arsenal,i hope coutinho could prove his ability and mentality..
    i wat for u'r update mate..cheers

  2. A great review of a young player me, and many other Inter Milan fans cannot wait to see play in Italy for the Nerazzurri. Although you mentioned Coutinho's finishing could be better, Inter currently have Milito and Eto who are both excellent finishers. What we need is a technically gifted attacking midfielder with vision, pace and dribbling ability to create chances for our centre forwards, and fortunately it seems as if Coutinho has those much desired raw characteristics. It is also postive to hear that has a similar personality to Kaka and Pato, rather than Ronaldo, Ronaldinho and Robinho. I just hope the Inter management look after and protect him for the media, and hope that too high expectations will not be immediately placed on his shoulders, which i fear they will be due to his age, nationality and position.

  3. To be honest I am not expecting Coutinho to became Inter key player in his first or second year (It would be great, but I'm not expecting it), I want to see this boy adjusting to Serie A and Italy lifestyle for a few years, and then to became something we hope he will become. It would be shame if we put him under a lot of pressure. I would be disappointed if fans and media tear him apart if he doesn't play like many of (unrealistic fans) expect him to play.
    There are a lot of great talents that flopped just because they didn't have their head straight, so out of all his good sides that you explained I am most excited about the fact that he is really focused. So I hope he will fulfill his potential, but many things have to come together.