In the last few years, the historic Brazilian club Flamengo produced and sold huge talents like Lucas Paqueta and Vinicius Junior. Today, they have another wonderkid on the verge of exploding, Reinier Jesus.
Without even playing in the first team, Reinier was already awakening interest in big European clubs like Juventus, Real Madrid and Manchester City. In order to protect their pearl, Flamengo set a release clause of €70m (£62.4m) on the young player.
Last month, the 17-year-old player made his debut for Flamengo’s first team against Emelec in the Copa Libertadores. Ever since that game, there are a higher number of eyes looking at him whenever he enters the pitch.
This tactical analysis scout report will “dissect” Reinier’s technical abilities and how he can fit into Jorge Jesus’ tactics. Furthermore, this analysis will focus on understanding how exceptional this talent from Flamengo’s superb academy is.
Reinier Jesus is a 17-year-old centre attacking midfielder who is taking his first steps in Flamengo’s senior team. Some of his best “weapons” are his creativity, technique, ball control, dribbling and passing abilities. Adding to those weapons, he can execute several actions in the game with both feet.
Unlike the average number “10”, he is 1,86m tall and has a well-built body frame. In fact, Reinier takes advantage of this combining his physique with technique and playmaking skills. Therefore, making him different from the rest of his position colleagues.
The best from Reinier comes from him playing with positional freedom, roaming around the last third of the pitch. Consequently, in the Flamengo’s tactics, Reinier plays as a centre attacking midfielder or as a false nine.
Most of the time, Flamengo (since Jorge Jesus arrived) play in the following structures: 4-2-3-1 or 4-4-2 (or 4-4-1-1). When playing in 4-2-3-1 Reinier played in the number “10” position. Similarly, when playing in 4-4-2 the player assumed the false nine position.
Style of play
At Flamengo’s youth teams, Reinier had a more “hybrid” advanced playmaker position. He is very dynamic and mobile in and around the opposition’s area, as can be seen in the heatmap above. The Brazilian is a very astute player and finds well the space between the opposition’s defence and midfield.
Reinier’s calculated off-the-ball movements are always with the purpose of making himself available for his team and dangerous to the other team. Nevertheless, he does not only search for the ball near the opposition’s area. Reinier is capable of connecting his team midfield and attack. When his team needs him, he is also clever to go a bit deeper, get the ball and carry his team to the attack.
Tactical analysis – passing, dribbling and shooting
Born in Brazil, Reinier, as many of his fellow countryman, stands out for his technical ability. The youngster is very composed and secure with the ball and has great passing, shooting and dribbling skills. This mix of abilities makes him a very dangerous player near the opposition’s area.
Looking at his Wyscout stats, it is easily noticed that his strengths are the same ones mentioned above.
Let’s focus first on Reinier’s keen passing abilities. In 2019, the Brazilian on average made 36.68 short/medium passes per game with an accuracy of 83.4%. Regarding his long passes, the stats are also very positive. Even though he does less long passes, 2.39 per game, his accuracy of 66.7% is still remarkable.
Sometimes players who only do simple passes can deceive this kind of statistics. However, this is not the case. Reinier has exceptional vision and he is very efficient making passes to the final third of the pitch. With an average of 4.34 passes to the last third, he’s success rate is 68.3%. Also, per game, he as an average of 1.81 through passes and 2.68 passes to the box completing 40% and 62.2%, respectively.
With this kind of accuracy, Reinier is capable of not only conducting his team to the attack but also creating opportunities for his teammates. He has unequivocally the skills of a playmaker. As well as that, Reinier is excellent playing with his back facing the opponent’s goal and doing first-touch passes. These unexpected and well-executed passes are kind of his signature move.
In the image represented below, there is an example of this exact move. This action led to Reinier’s first assist for Flamengo’s first team. Reinier’s outstanding speed of thought makes him capable of forging decisions in splits of a second. Making him also very satisfactory when playing as a false nine.
In the following image, the play is similar but with a first touch lob pass. Reinier receives the ball between the lines and executes a lob pass, which landed behind the defensive line.
These creative lob passes are not unique in his repertoire. Being already compared with the Brazilian superstar Kaka, Reinier also makes astonishing assists and passes. By executing passes with the outside of the boot or with his back-heel, Reinier is creating some expectation between the Brazilian fans.
In addition to his passing abilities, Reinier’s ball control and dribbling skills also help him to create opportunities for his teammates. In 2019, Reinier made 5.06 dribbles per game, having success in 51.4% of them. These numbers may not seem spectacular but Reinier applies his dribbles carefully and intelligently. He often beats his opponents in order to create spaces and chances to his teammates. Even though he comes from a country where excessive dribbling is very common, this is not true in his case.
Although he is not very fast, he has a decent speed which, when combined with his excellent ball control, can turn his progressive runs efficient. By doing this, Reinier projects his team forward. Additionally, his athleticism and ability to protect the ball from the opponent makes him difficult to stop. Briefly, his dribbling abilities are another way to create instability in the opponent teams.
Last but not least, let’s take a look at Reinier’s shooting ability. In the current season, he has 1.52 shots per game with 61.9% of them being on target. He is capable of producing impressive goals from outside the box and also clever runs into the box. The Brazilian deliberately likes to reach the opponent’s area late so he can stay near the penalty spot to score.
Regarding this season, when given opportunity inside the box, Reinier scored 50% of the times, according to Wyscout. While playing with his back to the goal, he is apt to protect the ball, quickly rotate and score with both feet. Even with his weaker foot, he can score with almost no preparation at all. When inside of the box, he can also finish with his first touch on the ball.
Additionally, from outside of the box, Reinier is able to deliver potent and accurate shots. Moreover, he does not need much time to prepare his shot. If given space and opportunity Reinier tries to score from anywhere, and he has a good conversion rate. From his nine attempts from outside of the box, this season, seven were on target and he scored four times.
Taking this season into account, he has already got 10 goals. One of these goals was in his first game as a starter for Flamengo’ senior team. The score in the away game against Avaí was 0 -3, with Reinier’s contribution in two of the goals.
Consequently, he is a potent goalscoring threat. If given space, the Brazilian it’s easily triggered and will not hesitate to try his luck.
To summarise, Reinier is a dangerous playmaker who can harm to the opposing teams through different methods. Starting with his unquestionably accurate passes and ending with his shooting/finishing quality he can be a huge problem to his opponents.
Truthfully, Reinier’s first two games in Flamengo’s senior team were not brilliant. However, in his debut as a starter, he was actually capable of showing that he is a gifted player. Scoring one and assisting another to “Gabigol”, he showed Flamengo’s fans that he is ready to play with the “pros”.
Indeed, let’s not forget that Reinier is only 17 years old and he still has a long path ahead. With this in mind, if he adds to his talent, work rate and dedication, he will certainly thrive. Not only in Brazil but in Europe’s big leagues as his Flamengo colleagues Paqueta and Vinicius.
Of course, it is too soon for a club to pay Reinier’s €70m (£62.4m) release clause. Nevertheless, if he keeps improving and adding numbers to his name, the “big sharks” will stop just sniffing around and act faster before they get outplayed.
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