It’s been a tough road for Joao Carlos Teixeira. At a time when most players with his talent would be worrying about breaking into a club’s first team, he was worrying about recovering from a serious back injury and surgery that kept him sidelined for an entire season. His recovery was further hampered by a series of minor secondary injuries, the result of being sidelined for so long.
Last season, though, the now 22-year-old finally got the chance to put a full season under his belt, spending a successful campaign off on loan with Brighton & Hove Albion. It was the first time he spent an entire season fit—or at least it was until late in April when, with the season winding down, a bad tackle fractured his foot. It was expected to be another serious setback, but just three months later he’s back in action.
Not only back in action, either. Against the Thai All Stars on Tuesday, he was Liverpool’s best player in the first half—being the first match of pre-season in difficult conditions, Liverpool played a fresh eleven for each half—and looked a more than capable fill-in for Philippe Coutinho, who along with new signing Roberto Firmino remains on his summer break following the Copa America.
In 45 superb minutes, Teixeira registered a pair of assists and could have easily had a third had a well spotted through ball had Danny Ings and not Rickie Lambert chasing after it. He was strong, he was quick, he was composed, and—though caveats about the opposition are perhaps necessary—looked the best player on the pitch. In a less crowded midfield, he would be a lock to make the first team this season.
Even in Liverpool’s he will have a chance, and the absence of Coutinho and Firmino for another week or two will help to give it to him. It also helps that his natural tendency is to take on a deeper role than most of Liverpool’s other attack-minded midfielders. In any case, a few more showings like yesterday’s, and Brendan Rodgers will have little choice but to find room for him.
Video by MrBoywunder
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