Joao Carlos Teixeira was one of the brightest young stars at Sporting CP’s academy. He was supposed to be the next Deco. Liverpool got a first hand look at the youngster when he put in a man of the match performance against them in the NextGen series. Then, the player suffered a bad back injury. It still wasn’t enough to stop Liverpool paying £800k to the cash-strapped Portuguese club for the injured prospect.
It did, however, mean a lot of time on the sidelines, as a lengthy recovery and time-consuming rehabilitation kept Teixeira away from football for a year and set back his development. If Teixeira was going to come good, it was always going to take a few more years for him than it would for other youth stars. Now 22 years old and on loan at Brighton, though, he’s closing in on an offseason that could determine if he has a future at Liverpool.
"It’s really difficult because Liverpool are a big club with great players, but you dream of playing Premier League football with a club like that," he told reporters asking him about his future after a recent Brighton match. "I really want that and I'm going to work for it, but you never know what’s going to happen and of course I’d see Brighton as an option. I like everything here—I like the city and it’s nice living here."
Teixeira has made 25 league appearances for Brighton this season, scoring six goals and adding three assists while establishing himself as one of the Championship club’s most talented players. It’s a return that, despite being a midfielder, makes him Brighton’s top scorer in England’s second tier, and if the club survive in the Championship this season—they’re currently nine points clear—his contributions will have been key.
It may not guarantee a Liverpool future for him, but it’s the kind of season Teixeira desperately needed, and the Liverpool Echo believe it has ensured he is already in Brendan Rodgers’ plans for the upcoming pre-season tour, when the player will be given the chance to prove he’s finally developing into the player many thought he would become before the back injury.