Followers of the Portuguese game are well aware that the country is on the cusp of another “Golden Generation” of football. The last Golden Generation produced players like Rui Costa and Luis Figo, so the very thought of another generation anywhere close to as talented as the last one is encouraging. The reason for the excitement is a number of extremely talented players, already with considerable playing time under their belts in some of Europe’s top leagues. Players like João Mario, William Carvalho, Bernardo Silva, and André Gomes are some of the more well-known names, thanks to impressive performances this season. One player who hasn’t truly gained as much recognition (until recently) is João Carlos Teixeira. Teixeira played for Brighton Hove & Albion this season, on loan from English Premier League giants Liverpool. Despite some impressive, if inconsistent, performances, Teixeira hasn’t garnered much media or fan attention since playing in the English second tier with Brighton. His performances, as I have alluded to, deserve more recognition.
João Carlos Teixeira was part of the Sporting U19 team that found success in the inaugural 2011/2012 NextGen Series. The NextGen series was the predecessor to the UEFA Youth League, and served in much the same capacity. The 2011/2012 season was hugely successful for Sporting’s youth side in the tournament. The team was drawn against Liverpool, Wolfsburg, and Molde, and after an undefeated group stage, Sporting finished atop the group, ahead of favorites Liverpool, whom they defeated heavily twice. In Sporting’s first encounter with Liverpool, João Carlos Teixeira controlled the match and capped off his impressive performance with a goal. From that point onward, Liverpool were rumored to be interested in the midfielder. Though Sporting bowed out in the quarterfinals, the team had already made an impression on the tournament. And at the heart of the team was Teixeira.
Liverpool’s rumors came to fruition during the winter transfer window in that same season, when the English giants purchased Teixeira for just under a million pounds. Nineteen at the time, Teixeira began featuring for Liverpool’s U-21 team, where he stayed until the 2013/2014 season, when he was loaned to League 1 side Brentford. Despite a couple of positive performances, Brentford cut the loan short, as the team was slipping down the table and could not guarantee Teixeira playing time. The midfielder returned to Liverpool, where he continued to feature for the U-21 side. In February, after some impressive performances for the U-21 side, Teixeira was called to Liverpool’s first team for a match against Fulham. Brendan Rodgers handed Teixeira his debut in that match, substituting him in on the 82nd minute mark.
This season, Teixeira was sent on loan to Championship side Brighton Hove & Albion. Since his arrival, Teixeira has performed well, if not consistently, yet his performances have received very little media attention. Brighton have struggled this season in the Championship, finishing a disappointing 20th place, after promotion was touted at the beginning of the season. Brighton’s struggles could be the reason for the lack of media attention that Teixeira has received, but more likely, his positive, yet not spectacular performances, are the reason for this. Despite not having set the league alight this season, Teixeira has proven to be the most dangerous and effective of his team’s attackers. In 32 league appearances, Teixeira finished as the team’s top goalscorer with 6 goals to his name. In addition, the midfielder finished with 63 chances created, which is the highest amount in the team by some margin.
Though João Carlos Teixeira struggled for consistency this season, his statistics speak for themselves. At the age of 22, in his first full competitive season, João Carlos Teixeira proved himself as Brighton’s most effective attacker. He finished as the team’s top goalscorer…all from midfield. So, what’s next? Teixeira will return to Liverpool next season and will be evaluated by head coach Brendan Rodgers. Should Rodgers deem Teixeira worthy of staying with Liverpool’s first team next season, he will surely play second-fiddle to Brazilian sensation Philippe Coutinho. But a better option for the midfielder, as Rodgers will probably see, will be another loan away from Liverpool. The Premier League would be a good destination for Teixeira, as he attempts to improve and mold his game to the rigors of the Premier League. But who knows? There’s a lot that can happen.