As a young player, Bruno Andrade had a seemingly bright future. The Portuguese winger was on the books of Queens Park Rangers and made a Premier League debut with the Hoops.
He was a teammate of England and Manchester City sensation Raheem Sterling, a player he allegedly offered tips to and helped to improve his game. Whilst Sterling used the advice and went from strength to strength, Andrade dropped into non-league.
He wound up at Boreham Wood via Woking, helping the former to the National League play-off final last year. That earned him his Football League chance, a big switch to ambitious Lincoln City.
This season, the 25-year-old has not looked back. He’s bagged eight goals in 31 starts, hitting six goals in just four matches last month. He bounced back from a petulant red card against Swindon Town to become a key figure for the Imps as they enter the final leg of a title challenge.
Andrade hasn’t just been about goals though, he’s a quick and tricky winger who drives into the box, cuts inside and out and offers a threat from both flanks.
His pace frightens the life out of League Two full backs and if the Imps continue on their current trajectory, it’ll be frightening League One defenders next season.
Andrade must sometimes see his friend Sterling performing in the Champions League and feel a tinge of regret. They came from the same youth set-up and yet fate cast them down different paths.
Recent form must give the Viseu-born wide man hope of climbing even higher. Lincoln City are almost certainly destined for League One, another chance for him to step up and test his skills.
He’s proven he can do it in the National League and the basement division of the Football League, but what about League One?
How will Bruno Andrade fare on the pitches of Portman Road, or maybe against Bolton Wanderers?
He’ll surely be relishing the chance to make a name for himself even further up the pyramid and maybe even stake a claim for the sort of move that could pit him against his one-time teammate and friend, Raheem Sterling.