Fernando 21 Midfielder Shakhtar Donetsk Brazil
2013 has been...
Progressive. To be quite honest, it’s going to be difficult for young Brazilian players to ever be imagined as anything other than snake hipped, samba infused baby wizards, as at home on the beaches of Rio as they are embarrassing more experienced opponents at The Maracanã. There’ll be a raft of other cliché’s we could roll out here, but nobody wants to get excited about a Brazilian defensive midfielder do they?….meh…
But for any fluid, Latino team to function properly, someone is going to have to step in with the odd crunching tackle and a hefty boot in the direction of the unproverbial Row L. Enter one Fernando Lucas Martins.
That’s probably a huge disservice to a player with a lot more to his armoury than just being a shield for a semi permeable back four. Fernando can pass very well, whether short or long, and his ability to read play has been a stand out feature of the Erechim born midfielder’s game since he first appeared on the scene.
A regular pick and consistent performer at various age groups for his country, it didn’t take long for Fernando to become an extremely important player for Gremio. Debuting in 2009 in a 3-1 defeat at Recife, he would become a permanent feature for his club within eighteen months. The all action, throwing oneself in front of a bullet type performances earned the midfielder favour with fans of Imortal. But while that might have been enough for some players, Fernando’s all round game developed well over the coming seasons as he became the nerve centre of attacks and forays upfield. Picking the ball up deep, driving and dictating, Fernando was in great demand by the middle of this year and the well-worn track from Brazil to Donetsk saw another young contender make the pilgrimage to Ukraine.
We thought that €11m looked more than reasonable value for a very promising player when details of Fernando’s transfer were announced. Shakhtar have become something of a beacon for Brazilian players making their first tentative steps in European football and with a growing number of his compatriots and friends already at the club, this looked a good move all round.
Fernando’s impact in Ukrainian football has been extremely limited so far and there’s a very good reason for this. Equipped with an array of talented attack minded players that are individually and collectively far superior than anything else in their league, Shakhtar don’t tend to struggle for results. So far Fernando’s contribution has been largely condensed to appearances from the substitutes bench, often replacing Bernard or another forward thinking player when a game is won. Once the damage has been done and the team are cruising, Mircea Lucescu has deployed our man as insurance against counter attacks. With Shakhtar at the top of the table it is a ploy that continues to work well and has allowed Fernando the time to gradually adjust to his new surroundings.
The one major concern we had with Fernando was his rashness. He’s young, he’s a very wired defensive player, he is going to dive in, but it was happening just a little too often in Brazil. With Lucescu providing sage advice, Fernando is yet to pick up a booking in eight appearances, something that certainly wouldn’t have looked likely at Gremio. Discipline in all senses of the word look to be a real feature here.
As things stand, Fernando is making reasonable progress. He has time and talent on his side, looks settled at his club and we expect to see a lot more of him over the next twelve months. He’s unlikely to be in a strong position to make the Brazil World Cup squad in 2014, but further international recognition shouldn’t be far away. Good work.
"Tough tackling, a decent passer and with a shot like a mule, the former Grêmio volante, now part of Shakhtar’s colônia brasileira, is still in the running for a spot in Felipão’s World Cup squad, despite intense competition at the defensive midfielder spot." James Young, Tall Coconuts
"After a positive start to the year in which he made himself a fixture in Felipao's Brazil squad, the midfielder moved to Ukraine with Shakhtar. His start has been slow, featuring mainly in the Champions League, and his World Cup hopes are suffering." - Christopher Atkins, The Elastico
"Fernando has made six interceptions and eight tackles for Shakhtar in the Champions League this season. " - Opta
C Seems in a good place, further progress looks a given