Atlético’s starting right back Sílvio is having a hard time staying on the field these days.
The 24-year-old’s nagging groin injury prevents him from playing two consecutive matches, a situation that is starting to cause some headaches at the Vicente Calderón.
The versatile full back travelled with the Portuguese national team during the international break, but was left on the bench as a precautionary measure in both of their games.
Spanish paper AS got in touch with Portugal team doctor Henrique Jones, who admitted Sílvio isn’t fully fit.
“On Monday, we performed a test involving changes of pace and acceleration,” said Dr. Jones. “It was positive, but not as good as we would have liked for him to undertake a match against Denmark.
“Sílvio has improved, but he is not one hundred per cent recovered and Portugal didn’t want to take any risks with him.”
According to AS, the defender is a doubt for our trip to Granada.
Luis Amaranto Perea has served as Sílvio’s backup this season but, after a series of shaky performances from the Colombian outside his comfort zone in the centre, Manzano seems to be pondering other options.
It was reported earlier in the week that Atleti winger Juanfran, who has spent a significant amount of time on the bench this year, had been lined up in a right back position in a practice match against the reserves during the break.
The first team won the clash 3-0.
In a press conference on Wednesday, the former Osasuna man was quoted by AS as saying, “As of today, my situation isn’t the best one. I would’ve liked to have played more.”
The 26-year-old, who also assured that “sooner or later” he will be “important to this team”, may be getting his wish as early as Saturday.
“I’m prepared one hundred per cent, and I’m very excited to play wherever it may be,” Juanfran said. “I’d be delighted to play as a full back or as a winger, as long as I get to play.”
Other than a healthy Sílvio and perhaps a second chance for Perea, the only thing standing in Juanfran’s way of a new role in our defence is Atlético B right back Abdelkader Oueslati, known simply as Kader.
The 20-year-old Tunisian, who arrived at Atleti when he was 16, was called up by Manzano to train with the first team this week.
Like Juanfran, Kader isn’t a natural right back.
Throughout his young playing career, the Tunisia youth international had played as a centre forward.
According to AS, Milinko Pantic converted him into a full back just this year, where he has played since the beginning of the current campaign.
“Little by little, I’m adapting and each time I feel more comfortable in that position,” Kader told AS.
If Sílvio is unavailable for Saturday’s clash in Granada, it will be very interesting to see who Manzano decides to go with in his stead.
Perea has the most experience on the flank, but is limited offensively. Should he be given another shot?
Juanfran is a Primera División veteran, but can he adapt so quickly to a defensive role?
Kader lacks experience competing at the highest level and isn’t a natural right back, can he step up to the challenge?