Letter to Anderson
I would like to start off this letter by saying “I knew it”. “Knew what?” I hear you ask. The answer is simple: I knew all along that you had it in you. That you had it in you to turn critics around (so far) and show the world what you are capable of. Your last few performances at the club have been nothing short of wonderful. People said you had lost it, that you should be sold, that you were a waste of space. Those people are now very quickly changing their minds. It shows how fickle human beings can be.
I cannot even start imagining how difficult it must have been for you to keep faith in your own ability after such a long time on the sidelines. Your luck with injuries has been dreadful and the fact that you put on weight can only be linked to those months of desolation away from the training ground. However, it seems that last summer did you a world of good. During pre-season, people, including your own manager, noticed how hard you worked to shed the “injury” weight. People started to notice that your ability to move around the pitch had improved compared to last season. I’m sure you heard the childish jokes about your weight. Forget about those. They seem to have stopped.
One element of your game that still appears criticisable since your comeback is your inability to physically complete 90 minutes. People seem to be unaware that match fitness comes only with playing football week in, week out. Starting once every 2 weeks or so can only hinder one’s fitness. Training hard does not compare to the hardships of a full match. Training is there to hone your technical abilities and help you on your way to gaining that precious match fitness, but the latter can only truly be obtained through playing competitively. This is not your fault. If anyone’s, it’s Sir Alex Ferguson’s.
On the positive side, the manager seems to have realised that your best and favoured position is not as a tenacious central midfielder. I remember seeing your performance against Manchester United for FC Porto where you managed to impress football’s greatest manager. I remember you running past our midfield with such ease. I remember that you played as an attacking midfielder. Why Ferguson chose to deploy you as a more defensive player remains a mystery. Perhaps it was because at the time, Manchester United did not play with an attacking midfielder or was it because Ferguson simply thought that he would be able to re-train you in a different role? I must say that you adapted pretty well. Remember those performances against Gerrard and Fabregas? The display against the latter even earned you a song that you must be familiar with. It goes something like: “Anderson, son, son, son, he’s better than Kleberson…” If not, listen out for it next time. It’s incredibly catchy. Nevertheless, it is good to see you relishing the opportunity given to you in that favoured free roaming, attacking role of yours. Make the most of it!
May I also say how impressed we all have been with your improvement in the shooting department? No longer do you seem to sky every single shot. You actually seem to hit the target more often than not. Perhaps a bit more work may be needed, but that goal against Newcastle in the Capital One Cup (who thought of that name, seriously?) is proof that certain aspects of a player’s game can be improved. Did you work hard at it over the summer? I remember a few of your goals in the U-17 World Cup for Brazil. They were majestic.
In the passing department, you do not fail to deliver either; 3 assists vs. a fairly strong Chelsea side? Who would have guessed that before the game? However, I feel that your 91% pass completion rate this season is more impressive. It shows consistency, an element that many have criticised you for over the years. Carry on like that and who knows, maybe you’ll beat Scholes by the end of the year? I doubt it though.
Your English also seems to have improved. That interview with Paddy and Quinton was rather amusing and incredibly enlightening about your past and the hardships you lived through as a child. Your family must be proud.
I think I’ve said all I can for the time being. Let’s hope you read this someday, somehow.
Best wishes for the future,