The journey from young player to first-teamer has been a rough one for Joao Teixeira. It's been just over two years since his arrival at Liverpool from Sporting Lisbon, and despite the excitement of his arrival after he single-handedly beat down Liverpool's NextGen squad, he's only just recently broken in to the first team.
A long-term back injury slowed Teixeira's progress dramatically, and it's really only been this season that he's been able to make progress as a player. Now that he's showing fans why he was so sought-after two years ago, he's given an interview to Portuguese site zerozero, talking about what it took to reach this point and what the whole process has been like.
I've adapted well to the city and to the club. [...] When I did [the] medical they detected a fracture in my back but signed me anyway. That proves the faith Liverpool have in me. [Steven] Gerrard's words [of encouragement] meant a lot. He's a football man with a 15-year career at the top & England captain."
Translations provided by Tom Kundert
"It Was Something Incredible"
It's a little too early to declare Joao Carlos Teixeira the future of Liverpool FC, but a positive debut performance is certainly giving him a good start to his career in red.
Clarifying his injury as a fracture gives a little bit more clarity in to Teixeira's injury situation that's been largely a mystery until now. It was generally known to be a serious back injury, and one that required he spend a long time in a brace, but beyond that we had little information. Knowing it was a fracture goes a long ways to explain why it took so long for him to go from dominating the NextGen series to playing in Liverpool's first team.
It also says a lot for how high the club's opinion of Teixeira was at the time that they found the injury and went ahead with his transfer anyways. Especially in this era of football that demands instant gratification, displaying the patience to nurse a young player back to health before even remotely expecting any return on their investment is a rare thing indeed.
Teixeira also spoke glowingly of the Liverpool environment and his teammates:
"The atmosphere at Anfield is absolutely incredible. The passion for football in England makes it different to anywhere else. [...] Luis Suarez is nothing like he's painted to be. He's always joking around, having fun and gives me good advice."
He also speaks his growing friendship with fellow Portuguese youngster Ronny Lopes of Manchester City, talking about how they frequently meet up and spend time with each other. Without any other Portuguese players at Liverpool currently, having a fellow countryman near his age in the area would unquestionably be a boon to him, making it easier to settle in to the area, especially considering his injury situation early on.
It's always nice to get a glimpse behind the veil for a club's players, especially one who's been shrouded in mystery for most of the time since his arrival. Let's hope his introduction to the first team continues to go as well as it did in the limited time we've seen him so far.