Vinicius Junior warms the bench: why doesn't he start for Flamengo?
Real Madrid signed the teenage prodigy for €45m, but he has been unable to force his way in to the Brazilian club's starting XI.
Why isn’t Vinicius Junior starting matches? That is the question on the lips of Flamengo and Real Madrid supporters following the conclusion of the Brazilian Campeonato and the Copa Sudamericana.
Vinicius Junior four months without a start
The winger – signed by Real Madrid for €45 million in the summer – has not started a match for four months. Vinicius Junior last found himself in the starting XI against Atlético Goianense on 19 August. Since then, the 17-year-old has had to make himself at home on the bench. The Flamengo coach, Reinaldo Rueda, has taken to unleashing Vinicius as an impact substitute in the second half of matches.
His absence is the topic of debate in Brazil, and the Flamengo faithful often sing his name after half time in matches where the team have failed to ignite.
Real Madrid will demand greater defensive contribution
The Brazilian media outlet UOL considers that two other Flamengo players – Everton and Lucas Paquetá – have blocked his path to the starting XI. Both players are able to contribute defensively in a way that Vinicius cannot. In fact, that is a particular aspect of his game that UOL believe he must improve before making the jump to European football. Another possible solution would be for Reinaldo Rueda to alter the formation in order to incorporate Vinicius.
Flamengo will return to action in 2018 after they ended this calendar year with defeat to Independiente in the final of the Copa Sudamericana, and Vinicius Junior will hope to form a more important part.
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