Portugal U21 squad announced
Rui Jorge has named his latest Portugal U21 squad to face The Netherlands in their next European Championship qualifier.
Portugal are to take on Holland on the 11th October, having already secured two wins from their opening two qualifying games against Gibraltar and Belarus. Portugal will be expecting a tougher test in The Netherlands, though, and Jorge has called up a very strong squad.
However, Romario Baro, who has very much been involved in the Porto first team over the course of this season, is left out of the squad due to injury, while his teammate Tomas Esteves has also been overlooked.
Perhaps the biggest disappointment, though, is the fact that Pedro Goncalves has been overlooked for the latest squad, and is a clear suggestion that Jorge is rewarding reputation rather than form.
Goncalves has performed brilliantly this season for Famalicao, playing all 7 league matches for the newly-promoted side this season as they sit 1st in the Primeira Liga, above Portuguese heavyweights Porto and Benfica.
He has been tremendous in the centre of midfield, and has already chipped in with two goals this season too. However, despite both his and his club’s exceptional performances making them officially the best-performing Portuguese football team of them all so far this campaign, he is omitted.
It is still an exciting selection of players though who will be able to more than hold their own against a talented Dutch side, with Rui Jorge calling up players from the likes of Juventus, AC Milan, Manchester United, Benfica, Porto and Valencia, amongst others.
Porto goalkeeper Diogo Costa is expected to be the main man between the sticks for the match, while English Championship side Reading are represented in the squad, with Joao Virginia included in the squad. Sporting’s Luis Maximiliano is the third goalkeeper called up.
In defence, Porto duo Diogo Leite and Diogo Queiros, the latter on loan at Belgian side Mouscron, are included as the options in centreback, in addition to Tiago Djalo of Lille, who has played four of the French side’s Ligue 1 matches so far this season.
At left back, Wolverhampton Wanderers’ Ruben Vinagre has once again been called up, with Benfica’s Nuno Tavares the other option Jorge has in that position.
Jorge has then opted to bring three right backs, including Manchester United’s Diogo Dalot, as well as Pedro Pereira, who is currently on loan at Bristol City, and Valencia’s Thierry Correia, who has already featured in the Champions League for the Spanish outfit this season, albeit for just 20 minutes in a 0-3 defeat vs Ajax.
In midfield, there are a few high-profile players, including Benfica’s Gedson Fernandes, Watford’s Domingos Quina and Sporting’s Miguel Luis.
Alongside them, Moreirense and Estoril are represented in the squad by Filipe Soares and Daniel Braganca respectively. FC Porto’s Vitor Ferreira also makes the cut.
There are then some quality options for Jorge to call upon in attack, with AC Milan summer signing Rafael Leao, who recently scored his first goal for the Italians, included alongside Wolves’ own new addition Pedro Neto.
They are joined by Braga’s exciting prospect Trincao, as well as Juventus’ free-scoring Dany Mota. Benfica’s Jota is also in the side, his flair and ability on the ball making him an excellent option to the team.