Guly, or Not Guly. That Is The Question….

….but one that I have never understood.

It is fouteen months since Guilherme Do Prado joined Saints on loan from Cesena and the Brazilian still seems to split opinion amongst the St. Mary’s faithful.

After a slow start to life in English football (not uncommon amongst new imports) many were questioning the reasoning behind signing him. He was even cited as part of the reason that Alan Pardew and Nicola Cortese had fallen out, many suggesting that Guly had been brought in by the chairman against the wishes of the manager and that he had to play whether Pardew liked it or not. Pardew’s decision to put Guly on the bench, in what proved to be his last game in charge at Bristol Rovers many suggested had been the final straw.

This of course turned out to be nonsense, Guly was again on the bench for the five games following Pardew’s departure as Saints went on a disastrous run of form, and it was Guly as much as anyone that became a scapegoat amongst supporters.

As Saints form turned around under new boss Nigel Adkins, so did Guly’s. He netted his first goal for the club in a scrappy affair away at Yeovil Town before really showing what he could do in a man of the match performance at home to Tranmere Rovers as the Saints fans started to see glimpses of why he had been brought to the club.

Guly ended the season with eleven goals and six assists in twenty seven starts and twelve sub appearances (most of them fleeting). A pretty good return for a player settling in to the English game and being employed mainly on the wing, occasionally partnering Rickie Lambert up front. But the supporters were still split, some suggesting Guly to be lazy, or sometimes drifting in and out of games away from home.

I was always surprised by this, Guly’s creativity and ability to change a game were plain to see, he may not be the kind of player to chase the ball all day long and track back (I actually think he does do this), but every team needs a good mix of water carriers and show ponies.

Guly. Not a traditional number 10.

Guly has started this season as well as he ended the last, still playing some games on the wing and some up top, he has weighed in with six goals and is joint top assist maker for the club creating six goals for his teammates, all of this has come in seventeen starts and one substitute appearance, and this is perhaps the most important statistic as it highlights how important he is in Adkins eyes as the Brazilian is Saints most used player so far this term.

So why do some fans question his place in the team? Well perhaps the trip to Reading highlights that better than most. Guly has been known to be quiet on away games, but with some footballers you need to focus on what he does do rather than highlighting what you perceive that he should be doing. The Brazilian, having been selected in midfield seemingly didn’t have a massive impact on a game that Saints trailed 1-0 with eighty minutes gone. Cue a deft volleyed flick over the top to set Steve de Ridder free on the right, and a point rescued. Still some were more intent on discussing what he didn’t do. Creating something from nothing is a skill that most footballers don’t have, and often eighty nine minutes of anonymity can be forgiven for one of genius and a certain number seven sporting Guernseyman could be often guilty of that.

It is worth remembering that foreign footballers aren’t coached the same way as they are here and sometimes we might be guilty of expecting English tenacity from players that simply weren’t taught that way.

In fact I think Saints have uncovered a gem in do Prado. A maverick and with a touch that is perhaps stereotypically expected of his countrymen, we miss his creativity when he isn’t there. Much is made, in fact a certain amount of panic ensues when Lallana is out injured, but Guly’s attacking contribution has been as prominent this season and at times so evidently lacking once he is off the pitch.

For me, he is far more effective when he plays off of Lambert up front, and although he isn’t a bad winger, he is somewhat restricted there, but he is a must for the starting lineup in my opinion.

Weighing in with another goal.

We may have signed Guly at just the right time, somewhat of a journeyman in the Italian game, we are already the club where he has played his most football and as he enters his thirties he is likely to be hungry to make his mark before it is too late. His last big chance came in 2005 with Seria A giants Fiorentina, but a serious injury meant he spent along time on the sidelines and the moment passed. He could have stayed with Cesena in 2010 and made it to the Italian top flight having helped them to promotion but for whatever reason, he chose St. Mary’s to ply his trade, and I for one am very glad he did.

One thing I am certain of, is that if he helps Saints to the Premier League, he is one of our squad that will definitely  be ready. So I leave you with this, especially those that have questioned his place in the side. If we want Saints to carry on winning and doing so in some style, we could do a lot worse than a bit of Samba magic in the Red & White stripes….

Ole, Ole Ole, Ole. Guly! Guly!

Chris

10 thoughts on “Guly, or Not Guly. That Is The Question….”

  1. To be honest like you I think he is a gem, I am not saying he is necessarily in the same league but Le God regularly went missing for 80 minutes of a game. It is a big step up to the Premier League should our form continue and we get there next season, to me he looks like a player who will still be with us and playing regularly if we do.

    My concern is can Rickie Lambert at 31 make that step or are we going to be searching the expensive transfer market for a premiership quality striker?

    1. When I first saw Guly last year he struck me as the perfect complement to Lallana: another player who can do the unexpected but in a different way. When Adam’s been out we really need someone who can turn round and do the non-percentage ball sometimes, even though it will often fail.

      Concerning Rickie, his performance this year convinces me he can cut it in the Premiership. His holding, laying-off and general creative skills are now being recognised alongside his ‘classic centre-forward’ mode. And he seems to keep fit!

      Our real challenge will be to keep these three guys together: with a solid backup in Cork and Hammond (who may need to step up or step out in my view) we have a great attack structure. And the statistics prove it.

  2. I was at the Bristol Rovers game when Guly got kicked up in the air after dwelling on the ball for too long with his very first touch. We all had a giggle and said “Welcome to England!”. I did question his motivation of moving to the English third tier when he had a shot at Serie A, but i’m also really glad he made the move.

    I’ll be the first to admit he does annoy me at timesm, but as you correctly pointed out, he’s a show pony and not a water carrier. That’s not to say he’s lazy either, because he will sprint 40-50 yards tracking back and make runs down the flanks to create space for the team.

    Sometimes he reads the game so well he plays a ball in to a space that no other player saw, prompting moans from the crowd because he lost the ball. Which I always think is harsh on a player who is simply trying to exploit space.

    Up front he gives you strength, pace and height and he has demonstrated on many occasions that he has a cool head in front of goal.

    I’m glad he gambled on a move to us and I hope he gets to play Premiership football at St. Mary’s!

  3. Great article and nice comments,ive always wanted us to have some Brazilian players since the 70`s,so ive been watching his career very closey since hes joined us im so happy hes settled into the squad and playing well so far…his ball to De Ridder with 10 men was something special ..i say we get 2 or 3 more Brazilians

  4. I still cant take to him, hes not a winger hes not a striker although he does score, he fits in behind the front 2 which is his best position, but we have Lallana for that if we are playing that shape, although he has scored some vital goal is he any better than Papa was or Antonio, i think not

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