If you’ve read Skills From Brazil, then you know that Jamie’s friend Rafael Da Cruz is quite simply a master when it comes to spotting football talent. So we thought we’d put him to the test and ask him to do a regular feature where he predicts which young players will ultimately go on to become the world’s greatest so this is the place where we peer into football’s future.
My first Tip For The Top is…
Name: Ruben Neves
Position: Central Midfielder
Club and League: Wolverhampton Wanderers, EFL Championship
Height: 5ft 11 inches
Strengths: Maturity/Leadership, passing, tackling, positioning
Overall assessment: My fellow Portuguese-speaker Ruben Neves is my first tip for the top, after excelling at Porto in his home country, he led his former club in the Champions League at 18 years of age, taking the armband and thus the record for youngest ever club captain in European football. He is known for being a tough-tackler, but also has an incisive eye for a pass which allows him to dictate the play from deep. He revels in either a ball-winning or a deep-lying role, and he has shown why, in his first game in a very physical division, he will be worth every penny of his hefty Championship record fee of £15m.
Prediction for future: Ultimately Neves will make his way to a top European league. Wolves will of course, be hoping it is with them, especially if he continues to boss the Championship. Clubs like Bayern Munich and Atletico Madrid were linked before his move to Molineux, which shows the level of interest the football world is taking in him.
Rafa’s review: I love the sheer stamina that Neves exerts into the Wolves engine room, and it seems like his motor never seems to stop running. His eye for a pass is one of the best in Europe and surely it will only be a matter of time before he starts running the show for Wolves in the Championship.
You will see from the YouTube highlights what an incredible passing attribute Neves possesses.