Philippe Coutinho has been called ‘the future of Inter’ but so far he has failed to live up to the hype. Now is the time for the Brazilian to prove his worth.
There comes a time in every player’s career when he must stand up and be counted as the player he can be. Coutinho, a twenty-year-old Brazilian who showed so much promise, looks to now have a chance at making the Inter midfield his own. For sure the youngster has had fierce competition from Inter talisman Wesley Sneijder and Antonio Cassano, but in the absence of this two, Coutinho will step into the breach.
Not only that, with contract negotiations with Sneijner stalled it looks increasingly likely that the Dutchman could be plying his trade elsewhere in 2013, with Alex Ferguson a long-time admirer among others. That would leave the way open for Coutinho to get a run at first team starts, something he hasn’t been able to do as yet at the Milan club.
Bought by Inter at the tender age of sixteen the Brazilian remained on loan with home club Vasco da Gama until the age of eighteen, when he then switched to Italy with amidst much fanfare, with Chairman Massimo Moratti saying ‘He is the future of Inter’. So there was a great deal of expectation on his very young shoulders.
Undoubtedly, Coutinho is an exciting prospect. A two footed midfielder who can take players on and a natural dribbler, he has pace and is one to get the fans out of their seats. Upon his arrival in Italy the young man still had quite a bit of physical development to do and Inter were willing to invest time and money in his development.
Sent out on loan to Catalan club Espanyol last season the Brazilian impressed with five goals in sixteen games and a slew of dazzling performances he may, however have wished his sojourn was not so short lived. He carried his form over to Serie A this season but injury put paid to any chance he had at impressing at his mother club and an extended period on the sidelines seemed cruelly timed.
But back in shape and raring to go Coutinho has a few games to state his case before the Italian league winds up for the Winter. Then in January, anything could happen. Inter have already received an offer for the Brazilian, but a lot will depend on Sneijder’s future. Coutinho’s agent has been busy making noises on behalf of his client and it seems he has also bought into the hype surrounding the player claiming that he is better than Neymar. He said “For me he is the best '92 in the world, even better than Neymar who scores so much. But he needs to play more and be treated better”.
The danger for Coutinho is that he becomes a talented, dribbling yet ultimately lightweight midfielder, prone to injury. If he is indeed the future of Inter, he had better start being the future present.