Defender | Porto | Brazil
Once in a while a prospect announces himself almost immediately. Here I am, brilliant and dexterous; what the hell took you so long? Eder Militao is one such player.
Whether it’s rampaging down the right flank or governing a defence like he owns it the emerging Brazilian has taken to top level football with an ease that astounds. Then you remember that he made his professional debut for Sao Paolo as recently as May 2017 and you’re astonished all over again.
It really has been a swift and stellar ascendance for the 6’1” defender from Sertaozinho. A product of Sao Paolo’s esteemed youth academy he excelled in his first and only year in the Brasileirao where he was stationed predominantly at right-back. Genuine interest from Manchester City followed but it was Porto who swooped, signing the prodigious teen for a bargain £3.5m.
Repositioned as an imposing centre-back Militao needed no time to acclimatise to the new continent promptly being voted September’s Primeira Liga’s defender of the month. His threat at set-pieces is an attacking asset but more so the Dragons have benefited greatly from his athleticism and innate reading of danger. With rangy, telescopic legs and upper body strength, so many of his challenges involve out-muscling opponents in a manner that puts the whistle to the referee’s lips but without the surety to blow.
Quick and focused the lad is hard to beat. The lad is class.
2018 has been…
….one giant leap taken after another. To illustrate the steepness of his trajectory Militao has gone from unknown to full international in the space of just fifteen months, gaining his debut for the Selecao against El Salvador in a recent comprehensive 5-0 win. He played the full 90 minutes.
Even more worthy of note perhaps is that at the time of writing he has made a fifth of his professional appearances – for Sao Paolo and Porto – in the Champions League.
By taking all this in his enormous stride the player has now attracted overtures from Manchester United and should Jose Mourinho commit to the 20-year-old for his defensive recruitment drive he will have a stopper whose only flaws are attributed to inexperience. There is a rashness on occasion. Some poor decision making, too. These will pass with match-day minutes and age and though this is an exceedingly big call should they do so it could yet result in Eder Militao eventually evolving into the complete defender.
There is something else too, as if that is not enough, something the Old Trafford faithful have been crying out for of late and that is excitement. Because Militao gets the blood flowing and all from a position that is intended to slow it right down.
His party trick – at right-back at least – is thus. He dispossesses a winger with barely concealed disdain. He thunders downfield, powering past a covering midfielder as if not there. The opposing full-back commits but Militao now simply lays the ball inside where acres have opened up.
On his day Militao is a force of nature. It’s down to the rest of us to catch up.