«I saw a quick, bossy, aggressive kid there…»: Carlos Fernandes recalls how Amorim ‘discovered’ Essugo – Sporting

It is well known how Dário Essugo made his debut in Sporting’s main team, in a victory by the minimum margin (1-0) over V. Guimarães, in Alvalade, in the 2020/21 season, but now a little is known better as the 17-year-old midfielder entered Rúben Amorim’s radar. In a panel that brought together Tomaz Morais (Director of Sporting’s Training Department), Dário Essugo and Carlos Fernandes (assistant in the main team), on the sidelines of the Sporting Academy’s 20th anniversary celebration, the 37-year-old’s right-hand man recalled the history, in order to set an example as is the thought in Alcochete. “When we are at the Academy on an internship day, we spend the day here and we have the habit of watching youth games taking place. Rúben was watching a training session for the under-17s and he told us ‘I saw a fast, bossy kid there, aggressive, technically strong…’ I happened to know Dário from other ages, but I was far from imagining that Rúben would want me to call him. He called the day after the weekend game. Sometimes this is a connection The coaching staff makes a point of talking every day with people from the B team, under-19, under-17… We have informal conversations and we always have someone from the senior team’s coaching staff watching the youngsters’ games . Be present and actively attentive”, stressed Carlos Fernandes. Essugo, by the way, remembers the day as if it were yesterday and underlines the importance of a good path in the formation of Alvalade. “I was having lunch with my family, I got a call saying that I was going to train for the first team. I was immediately nervous and that night I fell asleep already thinking about how it was going to be. I was really nervous. It was a dream. One day I could train and play… They gave me equipment, I went there for training and everyone welcomed me. Impeccable. Training was hard and I felt the clash right away. It was post-game training and those who didn’t play much had to compensate. I felt the difference in pace. In general, it went well and everyone welcomed me”, points out the young midfielder, who regularly trains with the first team, outlining the guidelines for a career at the Academy: “I am proud to represent my club. first team. It motivates us to want to give even more. There is a lot of talk on a daily basis. Just seeing that training network from the professional side, I dreamed of being on that side one day. The kids dream of one day being able to get there and it may happen.”

An expectation that, in the opinion of Carlos Fernandes, has to be managed cautiously, addressing the various examples in the players’ careers. “At the Academy, especially for Rúben, who is an open coach and against any age-related prejudice. quality and potential to reach the first team. See if he’s ready now or at another time. Everyone has the ambition to reach the first team and it’s up to us to filter that. Not everyone will make it up there, but we have to treat everyone equally. Due to their quality, some will arrive, others may arrive later or at another club. We take advantage of players who are part of the Academy’s history. Dário, for example, joined the Academy at the age of 8, he has 16/17 years at the Academy and that is the history of the Academy. Players like Dário appear to help us”, he exemplified.

Moreover, Amorim’s assistant was clear when analyzing the way of thinking of the first team. “We call a lot of players and I want to leave a word of thanks for the patience of the team’s coaches. Evolution goes through a lot of daily monitoring. And the way the older ones integrate the new players. It’s very important that everyone feels part of something. have the same opportunity, this is fundamental. Mister Rúben wants everyone to understand that”, he stressed.

Player-oriented model

When explaining the way Sporting’s team works, Tomaz Morais stressed that everything is meticulously prepared. “We don’t have two different ways of looking at the same player. The whole structure has to have this thought: a player, to manage expectations well, has to know where he is, his level, where he has to work and that his life it doesn’t end here. When you leave here, you’re a Sporting player. In sports there is no time. It has to be done right away, the next day. We created something very simple, easy to communicate and that players could understand. We wanted to remain focused on teams or thinking about the DNA of Sporting and the players? We wanted to look at the player as the essence of the training project. The best thing was to go for the player, look at the training and then if it’s going well, at the weekend we can win. Sporting has this responsibility to win, but it didn’t mean that we stopped being competitive at the weekend. When we feel that there is a model that unites them, formal and competitive evaluations, the player is our focus”, he made it clear.

Tomaz Morais assumed that it was “an enormous joy” to see “so many players of the formation” in the 2020/21 title, ensuring that the “philosophy” and “values” defended by President Frederico Varandas led to such a result. A helping hand, guarantees the Director of the Training Department. “We work daily to serve the A team. That’s how I see the sports model. I’m glad Sporting believes in it and has been giving that vigor to the way we are. A strategic plan was drawn up. We all have to work very closely together. alignment made it possible to have players playing for team A on a daily basis. The technical staff of team A has an eye on the formation and allows them to get there. Everything came together perfectly and allowed many to arrive. next step is to keep in the A team. Our job is to support”, he defends.