Who is William Carvalho?
The 21-year-old youngster from Sporting Club de Portugal has been the revelation of this season in the Portuguese Liga.
Another holding midfielder, William Carvalho's style of play is often compared to Patrick Vieira.
He acts like a vacuum cleaner, hoovering up any attack. You can remember his performance in the second-leg playoff match between Sweden and Portugal, where he came on as a substitute to shore up the area ahead of Portugal centre-backs.
After his appearance in the game, Sweden's attacking power dried out immediately. On top of that his physical presence in the attack has already earned him some goals from corner kicks and set-pieces.
If his consistency lasts for a whole season, he will be in the starting lineup for Portugal in the World Cup 2014. With that in mind, the end of the season might be the best time to make a bid for the talented midfielder.
After the World Cup, his value might be much higher. The 2013/2014 season is going very well for William, who has already scooped up two Player of the Month Awards for the Portuguese Primeira Liga.
Style and Strengths
As I said earlier William Carvalho's style resembles Patrick Vieira’s. His preferred position is as a single holding midfielder in a three-man midfield. He’s also able to play as a centre-back.
With a strong physical presence backed by his 6 feet 1⅝ Inches frame he imposes himself against the opponents.
Despite being very strong he’s not a hard tackler nor does he commit many fouls. His anticipation skills are one of the main strengths of his game. Moreover, his ability to read the game and to position himself in the right place in the field allow him to recover many lost balls and block dozens of passes and crosses into the area.
At the age of 21, another impressive quality for William Carvalho is the calm and control he displays with the ball on his feet.
Once again, helped by his physical skills, he barely loses the ball when challenged. After breaking up the opponent team attacks he picks up the ball in front of his defence and runs towards the opposition midfield with the ball controlled at his feet. This allows the players in front of him to charge forward and outnumber the defenders.
He prefers to play simple vertical passes to the more creative midfielders in front of him, but he can also play long lateral passes to the wingers and the overlapping full-backs.
However, if needed, he can play more complex passes which are usually unexpected from a player with his characteristics. Although not technically gifted for those wonderful passes like top-class midfielders as Xavi, Yaya Touré or Andrea Pirlo, he can play through passes behind the opposition defense leaving his team-mates one-on-one with the keeper.
One of William Carvalho's weaknesses arises when he plays against a technically gifted number 10. Because that player usually falls within the same playing area where William plays, his offensive skills are greatly impaired by the performance and the positioning of the opposing midfielder.
He has to learn how to cope with this threat while at the same time playing the ball and contribute to the offensive transition of his team.
While in the defensive part, he fully understands his duties and succeeds in marking the opponent, in the offensive part, he still cannot get free from his marker and play higher up on the pitch as he is used to. This, in turn, leaves his team unbalanced because the team relies on his ability to press high on the opposition midfield to quickly recover the ball.
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