Rio de Janeiro, Oct 2 (IANS) Bayer Leverkusen left-back Wendell has vowed to continue Brazil’s tradition of attack-minded full-backs as he prepares for his international football debut next week.
The 23-year-old was drafted into the Selecao squad after Real Madrid’s Marcelo suffered a calf injury on Saturday. He is expected to slot straight into Brazil’s starting line-up for their home World Cup qualifier against Bolivia on Thursday and the trip to Venezuela five days later, reports Xinhua.
Brazil’s list of attacking full-backs in recent years includes Marcelo, Juventus veteran Dani Alves and 2002 World Cup winner Roberto Carlos.
“I’m an attacking full-back who likes to go forward,” Wendell told the Uol news portal. “I have managed to score a lot more in recent years. I still have a lot to learn but I’m almost complete in this position.”
Wendell has made 78 first-team appearances for Bayer Leverkusen since his 2014 move from Gremio.
He credits his mother for financially supporting his early football pursuits and giving him the confidence to succeed.
“People didn’t believe that I would become a footballer because of my physique,” the slightly built defender said. “They said that my mother was spending money for nothing. She gave me a lot of strength and I got here thanks to her.”
Such has been Wendell’s rise to prominence that media reports in recent months have linked him with possible moves to Real Madrid and Paris Saint-Germain.
“Coming to Europe young makes you learn faster, to have more tactical knowledge faster,” he said.
“This also happens in Brazil, but more slowly. I had to learn fast, because otherwise we can’t play here. I give a lot in the matches, I try to do everything well and play like it’s the last game of my life. Nothing more, just take the field with that spirit.”