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Opinion: Why Fulham should resist temptation to loan out 20-year-old



Fulham striker Rodrigo Muniz can count himself unlucky not to get more first-team opportunities at Craven Cottage so far this season.

Starting just one game for the Cottagers since his €8m arrival in the summer, the Brazilian has been the one arguable loser from Aleksandar Mitrovic’s red-hot form in front of goal, with the Serbian international scoring 21 goals in 18 Championship matches this term and with that, starting every league game in 2021/22 thus far.

The 27-year-old’s ability to remain fit throughout the campaign, despite travelling abroad three times with the Serbian national team in the last few months, has been impressive and at the same time, he has also been able to retain his discipline to remain ever-present in his domestic side’s lineup.

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What was Aleksandar Mitrovic's league goal tally for 2021/22 after the Barnsley (H) match?

He doesn’t look like slowing down anytime soon, scoring in each of his last seven Championship fixtures and looking likely to score again tonight against a Derby County side that have been leaky in recent games after a solid start to their season defensively.

This has meant Muniz has only won eight substitute appearances in the league, playing just over two hours of second-tier football in total but still managing to get on the scoresheet three times, an impressive total for a young player that will still be acclimatising to life in England after his move from Brazil.

With three goals on his record already after adapting well to a different continent and a new language, there might be the temptation to send the 20-year-old out on loan to aid his development and bring in a short-term option to replace him on the bench.

Considering they spent €8m on him, they will want to see a vast improvement on his ability at the end of the campaign compared to whether he was at the start of it, and more game time elsewhere can only help in this potential quest.

However, officials at Craven Cottage shouldn’t be hasty in this situation, especially with a young forward that needs to be managed properly.

Only just getting used to his surroundings in the English capital, he would be well-served remaining at the club, especially with the youngster getting the chance to train with a superb forward in Mitrovic most days.

Muniz himself has said how the goalscoring Serbian is getting the very best out of him in an interview with the club’s media team earlier this month, also saving praise for current boss Silva for giving him the confidence to thrive.

And looking at the current state of play, an injury or suspension to Mitrovic would completely the 20-year-old’s first-team prospects, likely to come in as a starter in the 21-goal man’s absence.

Although injuries are likely to creep in during the season, a suspension could be coming even sooner with the 27-year-old currently two yellow cards away from a one-match ban.

He may only get one start in the Serbian’s potential absence in this case, but it would give Muniz a chance to impress nonetheless and if he does well, that could persuade the Cottagers’ manager to opt with two up top if his current 4-2-3-1 system goes stale at some point in the season.

With Fulham now top of the table and there to be shot at, with teams across the Championship likely to do their homework on the west London outfit, that is a possibility so the Brazilian becoming an option can only be a positive for the automatic promotion favourites.

This is another reason why they should retain him and judging by his social media posts, there doesn’t seem to be any bitterness about his lack of first-team opportunities, making the decision to keep him a lot easier.

And at 20, there’s still plenty of time for the forward to be a success in English football, so all parties should stick to their guns ahead of what could be a very bright future for a talented striker in the English capital.

A 21-year-old Reading FC fan and writer who graduated from the University for the Creative Arts in the summer with a degree in Journalism and Media Production. Other topics written about include politics, mental health and education.

ScoopDragon Football News Network

Article title: Opinion: Why Fulham should resist temptation to loan out 20-year-old

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