Roger Fernandes: Video studies opened the door at Braga – Newcastle United interested?

FPL360
By FPL360
Roger Fernandes: Video studies opened the door at Braga – Newcastle United interested?

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The Talent Calendar 

Only a few professional players have made their debut before their 17th birthday, and only a small percentage play professionally when they are still 16. Roger Fernandes is one of them as he made his debut as a 15-year-old for Braga. However, on November 21, he turned 17 and was experiencing the first minor crisis of his career. 

Portuguese scouts first discovered Fernandes in Guinea-Bissau. The small country located on the Atlantic coast has just two million citizens and is not exactly known as a football nation. Still, as a former Portuguese colony, the country has been heavily scouted by clubs from Portugal.

Roger Fernandes, Sporting Braga

Like his three cousins Joelson Fernandes, Saná Fernandes (both play for Sporting), and Ricardo Mango (SC Beira-Mar), Roger Fernandes left his country at a young age to join Braga, where he made his debut in August 2021 in spectacular fashion. Just ahead of the Portuguese Supercup final against Sporting, winger Galeno got injured, and head coach Carlos Carvalhal asked his academy boss who could replace him. A young left-footed winger was chosen, who would have an immediate impact. 

“Roger started to train, and I liked what I saw from the first ball contact onwards,” Carvalhal later said to the sports paper O Jogo. “I liked what I saw, and I right away moved him to the first team for the first test match against Vizela. When I got home that evening, I watched the game again like I always do. One of my worries was Roger’s offensive and defensive positioning, and I watched to take notes for corrections, but after 45 minutes, my piece of paper was empty. I was fascinated! How is it possible that this boy has already identified the way we played?!” 

The most valuable players in the 2022/23 Portugal Primeira Liga

35. Zaidu (Porto) | Market value: €10M

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34. Nuno Santos (Sporting) | Market value: €10M

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33. Paulinho (Sporting) | Market value: €10M

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32. João Mário (Benfica) | Market value: €12M

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31. Gabriel Veron (Porto) | Market value: €12M

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30. Mateus Uribe (Porto) | Market value: €12M

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29. Julian Draxler (Benfica) | Market value: €12M

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28. João Mário (Porto) | Market value: €12M

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27. Fredrik Aursnes (Benfica) | Market value: €13M

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26. Jeremiah St. Juste (Sporting) | Market value: €13M

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25. Al Musrati (SC Braga) | Market value: €14M

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24. Morato (Benfica) | Market value: €15M

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23. Galeno (Porto) | Market value: €15M

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22. Florentino (Benfica) | Market value: €15M

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21. Vitinha (SC Braga) | Market value: €15M

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20. António Silva (Benfica) | Market value: €15M

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19. Odysseas Vlachodimos (Benfica) | Market value: €16M

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18. Manuel Ugarte (Sporting) | Market value: €18M

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17. Ricardo Horta (SC Braga) | Market value: €20M

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16. Alejandro Grimaldo (Benfica) | Market value: €20M

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15. Francisco Trincão (Sporting) | Market value: €20M

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14. Mehdi Taremi (Porto) | Market value: €20M

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13. David Carmo (Porto) | Market value: €20M

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12. David Neres (Benfica) | Market value: €22M

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11. Evanilson (Porto) | Market value: €22M

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10. Pepê (Porto) | Market value: €22M

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9. Gonçalo Inácio (Sporting) | Market value: €23M

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8. Rafa Silva (Benfica) | Market value: €23M

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7. Gonçalo Ramos (Benfica) | Market value: 24M€

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6. Pedro Porro (Sporting) | Market value: €25M

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5. Marcus Edwards (Sporting) | Market value: €25M

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4. Pedro Gonçalves (Sporting) | Market value: €30M

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3. Otávio (Porto) | Market value: €30M

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2. Diogo Costa (Porto) | Market value: €35M

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1. Enzo Fernández (Benfica) | Market value: €35M

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The obvious qualities aside—speed, good technical ability, and creativity—Fernandes also stands out for his ability to read a game. The main reason for that, according to Carvalhal, was that the player watched hours of match footage. Since arriving in Portugal, the teenager watched the first team regularly and studied the attacking players’ positioning. “He didn’t watch Barcelona or Liverpool,” Carvalhal said. “He watched the team he wanted to play in… I have never seen something like it. I think it is a positive example for all those who want to play in the first team of their respective clubs. I don’t know whether Roger will become a big player, but he is certainly on the right path, there is no doubt.” 

After making his first professional appearance in the Supercup aged 15 years and 252 days old, Fernandes managed ten more appearances in which he scored three goals and writing further history along the way. Fourth-youngest player, youngest scorer in the Liga Portugal, youngest player and youngest scorer in the Portuguese Cup, and the second youngest player in the Europa League. Unfortunately, Fernandes was then stopped when he broke his foot in February 2022. 

Last summer, several clubs were reportedly interested. Newcastle United were rumored to have prepared a £17m offer. Another club reportedly interested were Borussia Dortmund. But a transfer never materialized, and Braga changed coaches. Carvalhal, who helped guide Fernandes’ career, was gone; he was replaced with Artur Jorge. The 50-year-old guided the club to a third-place finish but did not use Fernandes at all. Instead, the teenager played for the second team in the third division. 

According to A Bola, Newcastle want to make a second attempt to sign Fernandes, this time at a much lower fee. Whether he wants to leave for the newly rich Premier League club or instead stay in his current environment remains to be seen. Despite a slight drop in market value to €3.5m, the attacking winger, who can also play as a wing-back, is the second most valuable player from Guinea-Bessau. For now, only Mama Baldé from ESTAC Troyes has a higher market value (€6m), and Fernandes certainly has the potential to leap his compatriot.

From December 1 to 24, we introduce new players from different countries born in 2004. Area managers, users, and data scouts come into play as experts throughout the series. You can follow all those players by adding them to your TM watchlist.


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