Sandro: Brazil Star's Olympic Success Will Earn Playing Time with Tottenham
Forget Neymar, forget Lucas Moura and forget Rafael da Silva—there's one player on Brazil's Under-23 squad who will benefit most from a breakout performance in the Summer Olympics.
Tottenham Hotspur midfielder Sandro.
The 23-year-old was an afterthought in Harry Redknapp's midfield, competing with the likes of Scott Parker for playing time. He managed 17 appearances, but only six of them were starts.
Last season, Sandro was left wanting with Spurs, spending most of the team's matches not even so much as glancing at the touchline.
However, with a new manager at the helm in Andre Villas-Boas, anything's possible at White Hart Lane. Therefore, a positive showing starting Thursday against Egypt will be the first step towards Sandro getting some minutes.
In group play, Brazil has some very easy opponents to welcome them into the Summer Olympics. Egypt, third-place winners of the 2011 CAF U-23 Championship Finals, represents probably their hardest test.
For a physical, defensive-minded player like Sandro, who intercepts well and tackles even better, against Egypt is where he must look to grab Villas-Boas's attention.
After that, it's Belarus, a country that's never been represented at the Olympics and who will be a pushover for tournament favorites Brazil.
This will be the easiest match for Brazil. It should also be where Sandro gets the most minutes, the most space in the center of midfield and the most freedom to support an attack and possibly get on the scoresheet.
If Sandro has a good Olympics campaign, should he start for Tottenham?
Finally, it's New Zealand, who has dominated their OFC Championships for the last couple of decades. However, opponents like Vanuatu or the Cook Islands don't do well to prepare players for teams of the quality of Brazil.
This will be another easy match for the Brazilians, who defeated New Zealand 5-0 in the 2008 Summer Olympics and will look to do the same this year.
Like the Belarus match, this one offers up a lot of possibilities for Sandro. Brazil could be up by two goals in the first 20 minutes and pressing New Zealand's side of the pitch hard. This would allow the midfielder some confidence in cheating up a bit and possibly getting a shot off or two.
Brazil's options in attack come close to superfluous. Sandro loves to play the assist as his side start up an attack. A few good passes could result in Tottenham manager Villas-Boas experimenting with a 4-1-4-1 formation. This would give Sandro a defensive midfield spot to slot into, a position he played in seven of his 17 appearances last season.
Perhaps Villas-Boas might think Sandro a good option to play next to Parker in central midfield. The middle of the starting XI isn't settled yet, after all, and it was a position he played in 10 of his 17 appearances a season ago.
With Parker a more offensive-minded player, this would allow for some added flexibility. Parker could support the attack when needed and Sandro could fall back to support the defense when needed.
Last season, Tottenham gave up long shots and was poor defending against the counter-attack. Giving a player like Sandro more time on the pitch as a defensive midfielder might be exactly what the new-look Spurs need.
What is the duplicate article?
Why is this article offensive?
Where is this article plagiarized from?
Why is this article poorly edited?