Roberto Martinez says Joao Neves was the player who impressed him most throughout his coaching career. In an interview with Channel 11, the national coach also revealed that the Benfica midfielder won the team's dressing room in just two days.
“I knew the Portuguese players a lot. We played against them in different matches. He wasn't a player. I knew that the dressing room was very competitive, because the Portuguese player knows how to win and compete. The surprise was that he also liked clarity and tactical information. That's hard to find. Joao Neves joined the national team at the age of 19. He showed character and maturity that really surprised me. The best way to gauge a player is to look at the locker room. He gives or does not give respect directly. It's as if my daughter was in school at four years old and had no filter. In the locker rooms we have filters, but it's the way to show respect. There are obvious things that a player earns respect directly or not at all. And Joao, who is 19 years old, has never seen a situation in my career where in two days he gained the respect of the locker room. “It's wonderful.”
This season, Joao Neves has already scored one goal and one assist in 29 appearances for Benfica, and the 19-year-old has so far won three caps for Portugal.
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