We know how Dário Essugo made his debut for Sporting’s main team, in a win by the minimum margin (1-0) over V. Guimarães, at Alvalade, in the 2020/21 season, but now a little is better known as the 17-year-old midfielder entered Rúben Amorim’s radar. In a panel bringing together Tomaz Morais (director of Sporting’s training department), Dário Essugo and Carlos Fernandes (assistant in the main team), on the sidelines of the celebration of 20 years of Sporting Academy, the right arm of the player of 37 years recalled the story, in order to set an example as is thought in Alcochete. “When we are at the Academy on a training day, we spend the day here and we are used to watching the youth games going on. Rúben was watching a training session for the Under-17s and he told us said ‘I saw a fast, bossy kid there, aggressive, technically strong…’ I happened to know Dário from other ages, but I had no idea that Rúben would want me to call. He called the day after the weekend game. Sometimes it’s a link The technical staff makes it a point to talk every day with the people of the B team, the under 19s, the under 17s… We have informal conversations and we always has someone from the technical staff of the senior team watching the youth games. and actively listening”, underlined Carlos Fernandes. Essugo, moreover, remembers the day as if it were yesterday and stresses the importance of a good path in the formation of Alvalade. “I was having lunch with my family, I received a call saying that I was going to train for the first team. I was immediately nervous and that night I fell asleep already thinking about what was going on. to be. I was really nervous. It was a dream. One day I could train and play… They gave me equipment, I went there to train and everyone welcomed. Impeccable. Training was hard and I felt the clash right away. It was post-match training and those who I didn’t play much to compensate. I felt the difference in pace. In general, it went well and everyone welcomed me”, underlines the young midfielder, who trains regularly with the first team, sketching the main lines of a career at the Academy: “I’m proud to represent my club in the first team. It motivates us to want to give even more. We talk a lot every day. Just seeing this training network on the professional side essional, I dreamed of being on that side one day. Children dream of one day being able to achieve this and it can happen.
An expectation that, in the opinion of Carlos Fernandes, must be managed with caution, addressing the different examples of the players’ careers. “At the Academy, especially for Rúben, who is an open coach and against any age prejudice. Quality and potential to reach the first team. To see if he is ready now or at another time. Everything everyone has the ambition to reach the first team and it’s up to us to filter that. Not everyone will make it, but we have to treat everyone the same. Because of their quality, some will arrive, others may arrive later or in another club. We take advantage of players who are part of the history of the Academy. Dário, for example, joined the Academy at the age of 8 , he is 16/17 years old in the Academy and that is the history of the Academy. Players like Dário seem to help us”, he illustrated.
Moreover, Amorim’s assistant was clear when analyzing the first team’s way of thinking. “We call a lot of players and I want to leave a word of thanks for the patience of the coaches of the team. The evolution goes through a lot of daily monitoring. And the way the old ones integrate the new players. It is very important that everyone feels part of something. having the same chance is fundamental. Mr. Rúben wants everyone to understand this”, he underlined.
Explaining how the Sporting team works, Tomaz Morais stressed that everything was carefully prepared. “We don’t have two different ways of looking at the same player. The whole structure must have this thought: a player, in order to manage expectations well, must know where he is, his level, where he has to work and that his life , it doesn’t stop there. When you leave here, you’re a Sporting player. In sport, there’s no time. You have to do it right away, the next day. We’ve created something very simple, easy to communicate and that the players could understand. We wanted to stay focused on the teams or think about the DNA of Sporting and the players. We wanted to look at the player as the essence of the training project. The it was better to go to the player, watch the training and then if it goes well, at the weekend we can win. Sporting has this responsibility to win, but that does not mean that we have stopped trying. to be competitive on the weekend. When we feel that there is a pattern that unites them, formal and competitive evaluations, the player is our priority,” he said.
Tomaz Morais assumed it was “an immense joy” to see “so many players from the formation” in the 2020/21 title, assuring that the “philosophy” and the “values” defended by president Frederico Varandas led to a such result. A helping hand, guarantees the director of the training department. “We work daily to serve the A team. This is how I see the sporting model. I am happy that Sporting believes in it and has given this vigor to our way of being. A strategic plan has been drawn up. We We all have to work very close. The roster has allowed us to have players from the A team on a daily basis. The technical staff of the A team have an eye on the formation and allow them to get there. Everything went perfectly chained and has allowed many to arrive. Suite The stage is to stay in the A team. Our job is to accompany”, he defends himself.