Name: William Carvalho

Country: Portugal

Club: Sporting Lisbon

Age: 22

International Caps: 4

Position: Defensive Midfielder

Although Carvalho has re-affirmed his commitment to Sporting Lisbon, speculation regarding his future refuses to go away. With Liverpool and Manchester United both reportedly keen on the 22 year old, fans of both clubs will be intrigued to see how the midfielder performs in the World Cup this summer, beginning this afternoon against Germany.

Carvalho has made staggering strides of improvement in the last year. Having only recently become a mainstay of the Sporting midfield, the 22 year old could potentially line up alongside Raul Meireles and Joao Moutinho for his country this summer. If so, the youngster will be expected to provide the anchor to allow his more experienced colleagues to focus on attack.

One of the defensive midfielder’s main strengths is his ability to read the game and make valuable interceptions. The 22 year old is strong in the tackle yet is rarely guilty of conceding many fouls. Against Sweden in the qualifying play-off, Carvalho was thrown on to protect Portugal’s lead and almost immediately following his introduction, Swedish attacks began to dry up and lose their potency.

Demonstrating incredible composure in possession, Carvalho is hardly ever caught on the ball. Rather than attempting ambitious or foolhardy efforts forward, the 22 year old often makes the simple pass to allow the more creative midfielders to flourish.

Competing against Miguel Veloso for a starting berth, the youngster likened to Patrick Vieira may watch much of the action this summer from the bench. But if the midfielder continues his current career trajectory and shines in Brazil, Liverpool and Manchester United may rue the decision not to force through a deal before the tournament.

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