By Dominic Vieira
Sporting does not possess the history and recognition of producing solid, commanding, and successful centre backs, however, 21 year-old Daniel Carriço is a different case. The defender has represented the Sporting since an early age, joining them from Estoril Praia. He rapidly worked his way up the Sporting youth ranks, where he captained many teams. He captained the Sporting Under-19s to winning the youth title in 2006. In the 2006/2007 season, Sporting manager Paulo Bento, who admired the youngster, promoted him to the first team. Unfortunately, Daniel Carriço failed to make his debut as there was fierce competition for his position. The following season Daniel was sent on loan to, he failed to play regularly. In January he travelled to Cyprus to play the remainder of the season for AEL Limassol, where he worked under Portuguese manager Mariano Barreto. Sporting normally send out on loan their most prospering talents so they can further develop and grow before they are capable to fight for a place in the main team. Miguel Veloso, Yannick Djaló and Bruno Pereirinha have all played a season on loan to smaller clubs before they broke into the first team.
Daniel Carriço made his impact in the squad last season, he made his debut in October 2008 and since then he has worked hard to earn his place in the starting place. He is a natural born leader, which is one of his key characteristics that has helped him work his way through Sporting. He may be at the tender age of 21 but Carriço had no problem imposing presence, and leadership across the pitch; he is most definitely a future Sporting captain in the making.
The defender is not like most modern centre back, he certainly lacks height as he is only 1.80m tall. He may be short, but is deadly on the ball with his head, having scored a few occasional goals and making numerous crucial clearances. The key to his successful aerial skills his based on the anticipation he possesses and positioning. He is a highly fit and fast player; his technique and confidence on the ball which enables him to travel up the field to initiate the Sporting offensive plays. Many times he has been compared to world class defender Ricardo Carvalho and may become his successor for Portugal.
Carriço captains the Portuguese under 21’s team and has not yet made his debut for Portugal. He has been observed by squad manager Carlos Queiroz several times but is not expected to play at this year’s World Cup. Sooner or later he will be given his opportunity to represent his country and will become a key figure in future teams.
Daniel Carriço is enjoying a terrific season which has sparked interest from all over Europe. The big clubs in France, Spain and England are closely monitoring the commanding centre back. It will be a big challenge to resist the temptations from joining one of Europe’s most powerful teams this summer, but it is expected that he will stay with his club for the next seasons as he dreams of becoming champions with them.
What are your thoughts on Daniel Carriço? Will he be a future captain of Portugal or will he simply be a solid defender for Sporting?