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Pedro Gonçalves: Profile, Expert Analysis, Tactical Overview & Video

GIBRALTAR, GIBRALTAR - OCTOBER 13: Pedro Antonio Pereira Goncalves 'Pote' of Portugal U21 looks on during the UEFA Euro Under 21 Qualifier match between Gibraltar U21 and Portugal U21 at Victoria Stadium on October 13, 2020 in Gibraltar, Gibraltar. (Photo by Mateo Villalba/Quality Sport Images/Getty Images)

Pedro Gonçalves: Profile

Name: Pedro Gonçalves

Date of birth: Jun 28, 1998

Nationality: Portugal

Position: Attacking Midfield

Height: 1.73m

Pedro Gonçalves: Introduction

Pedro Gonçalves has the talent to become Portugal’s next big star. In a nation which looks to be building from the Euro 2016 success, the amount of young talent emerging has many talking of an incoming golden era. Significant as Cristiano Ronaldo looks to be reaching his swansong. Gonçalves, an attacking midfielder brimming with goals and the creative spark to match.

Composed and grounded, Gonçalves is a great judge of space and uses that to deceive opponents and attack areas for both poaching opportunities or crossing situations. The future is certainly bright for the mercurial talent.

Pedro Gonçalves: Background

A young talented Portuguese player is likely to come into contact with Wolverhampton Wanderers at some stage. This was the case for Pedro Gonçalves but his experience has differed significantly from that of other A Seleção Wolves players. Chaves, the city of his birth, a northern Portuguese municipality and a significant journey from the capital Lisbon, in a way, represents the long trip Gonçalves has taken to reach seniority.

Gonçalves joined the youth academy of GD Chaves in 2008 but it would be within the Braga youth system where he would gain the largest proportion of his schooling. After 5 years with the Portuguese giant, Valencia, who’s senior side was coached by now Wolves boss Nuno Espirito Santo, acquired Gonçalves. Having broken into the under-19 side after Nuno’s departure, Gonçalves and the coach’s paths would cross again.

Joining Wolves in 2017, Gonçalves arrived in the second year of the Portuguese hold over the west-midlands club. Diogo Jota and Ruben Neves both arrived also and Gonçalves spent plenty of time with the latter.

“No doubt. The Portuguese often came together and we all created a strong bond. We talk daily,” said Gonçalves when asked about if settling into the English club was helped by having other Portuguese players such as Neves around.

However, unlike many other of his compatriots, Gonçalves left to join Liga NOS new boys Famalicão where his senior talent was realised. With 15 goal contributions across the season’s competitions back in his homeland, Gonçalves caught the eye of the nation’s giants. Sporting Lisbon would be the club to win the race to his signature.

“My strength is not talking, I like playing football more. I am a player who likes to have a ball, react to the loss and accelerates well. It depends on the coaches. I adapt to any style of play,” said the new signing.

The words show that Gonçalves is a fully focused individual with the sole aim to improve his game and help his team.

Expert insight on Pedro Gonçalves

101 spoke to creator of PortuGOAL and Portuguese football expert Tom Kundert:

“When Bruno Fernandes left for Manchester United most Sporting supporters thought it would be years before the club found a replacement with a similar output from midfield. Just a few months down the line and the flying start made by Pedro Gonçalves suggests the Lisbon club have hit gold again.

He may not have the long-distance shooting ability or wondrous passing range of Fernandes but Pote, as he is nicknamed in Portugal, is an equally intelligent footballer. The combination of positional sense, skilful feet, excellent decision-making and composure in front of goal makes Gonçalves a formidable weapon.

Born in Chaves on Portugal’s northern border with Spain, Gonçalves has packed a lot into his fledgling career, including two-year spells in Spain (Valencia) and England (Wolves) as a youth player. Back in Portugal, and with just a single senior appearance to his name, Gonçalves took to top-flight football instantly, enjoying a magnificent 2019/20 season as newly promoted Famalicão exceeded all expectations with a sixth-place finish and a run to the semi-finals of the Portuguese Cup.

Gonçalves was outstanding, a dynamic force in the centre of the pitch contributing 7 goals and 8 assists. Sporting beat Porto to his signature and in the Portuguese capital he immediately took his game to the next level, playing in a more advanced role and scoring and assisting for fun.”

Tactical Overview of Pedro Gonçalves

Pedro Gonçalves’ reading of the game distinguishes him amongst others in his age group and position. His understanding of space and when to hold and go means that defensively attempting to predict the Portuguese’s movements is exceptionally difficult.

Gonçalves can, at times, drop off a player’s radar. One moment covering the midfielder and just a few seconds later a pause or a quick burst of speed and Gonçalves occupies a completely free threatening space. In combination with his finishing ability and composure the Chaves-born talent becomes a nightmarish threat.

The Sporting counter-attack has advanced down the right flank. Centrally, Gonçalves takes up a position on the edge of the box.

The Sporting counter-attack has advanced down the right flank. Centrally, Gonçalves takes up a position on the edge of the box.

As the play advances further and the Sporting right sided midfielder and full-back interchange passes, the defenders move in unison following the play. Gonçalves continues to hold position.

As the play advances further and the Sporting right sided midfielder and full-back interchange passes, the defenders move in unison following the play. Gonçalves continues to hold position.

As Pedro Porro bursts towards the byline the opposition defenders move closer to the goal and open the gap in which Gonçalves has continued to hold position.

As Pedro Porro bursts towards the byline the opposition defenders move closer to the goal and open the gap in which Gonçalves has continued to hold position.

By the time Porro cuts his cross back the gap is too large for Gonçalves to be closed down and he can strike freely and lethally into the net.

By the time Porro cuts his cross back the gap is too large for Gonçalves to be closed down and he can strike freely and lethally into the net.

Despite this awareness of space and mature knowledge and understanding of patience, Gonçalves attacks the ball with speed and clinical precision. When given the opportunity through a chance, the Portuguese’s aim is to beat his man to the ball and finish atutely.

In this scenario, the cross is designed to meet the front man but Gonçalves still attacks the back post on the outside of the opposition defender.

In this scenario, the cross is designed to meet the front man but Gonçalves still attacks the back post on the outside of the opposition defender.

Gonçalves' gamble pays off. The ball beats the striker and instead continues through and the Portuguese's pace has allowed him to reach the ball before his opponent and head into the net.

Gonçalves’ gamble pays off. The ball beats the striker and instead continues through and the Portuguese’s pace has allowed him to reach the ball before his opponent and head into the net.

This example displays Gonçalves' pace and composure taking chances in difficult scenarios. The ball played long into the wide area, Gonçalves, currently behind the defender several yards, accelerates to become the target for a possible cross.

This example displays Gonçalves’ pace and composure taking chances in difficult scenarios. The ball played long into the wide area, Gonçalves, currently behind the defender several yards, accelerates to become the target for a possible cross.

The cross arrives and Gonçalves has reached the correct area but the cross is quite high but not high enough for a headed effort. Gonçalves compensates, jumping and angling the ball with the inside of his foot high past the keeper and into the net.

The cross arrives and Gonçalves has reached the correct area but the cross is quite high but not high enough for a headed effort. Gonçalves compensates, jumping and angling the ball with the inside of his foot high past the keeper and into the net.

Goals are not the only impressive part of Gonçalves’ repertoire. The midfielder can also be an instinctual creator for his teammates and uses his interpretation of  space to work wide areas for crossing opportunities.

Gonçalves has learned to understand the areas he must move into and the areas he needs to move the ball into the generate the best opportunity to score. In this scenario, the pass played across the box must reach his teammate as a speed which beats the closing defender and makes the keeper unable to come and claim the cross.

Gonçalves has learned to understand the areas he must move into and the areas he needs to move the ball into the generate the best opportunity to score. In this scenario, the pass played across the box must reach his teammate as a speed which beats the closing defender and makes the keeper unable to come and claim the cross.

In this scenario, it is clear to see the space which Gonçalves again works for himself to receive the ball and attack the opposition from to create a chance.

In this scenario, it is clear to see the space which Gonçalves again works for himself to receive the ball and attack the opposition from to create a chance.

Again, the cross with his 'weaker' left foot finds the area of the box best placed for his attacking teammate to strike from.

Again, the cross with his ‘weaker’ left foot finds the area of the box best placed for his attacking teammate to strike from.

Pedro Gonçalves’ development through his time in Spain, England and returning full circle to Portugal has moulded the midfielder into a special talent. With the goal-scoring flare of a keen-eyes striker and the creative intelligence of a seasoned number 10, the Portuguese will likely grow in reputation and ability as each season passes. The biggest stages are set to witness their next Portuguese star.

Pedro Gonçalves: Official video

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This article was edited by Josh Barker.

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