Ex-Fulham midfielder Sean Davis has listed Rodrigo Muniz’s athleticism and eye for goal as two of his best assets, singling out the Brazilian for praise in his column after seeing him bag a brace against Blackburn Rovers last week.
The forward, who was also previously the subject of Championship rivals Middlesbrough in the summer, arrived at Craven Cottage for an €8m fee back in mid-August, with the purpose of competing with Serbian international Aleksandar Mitrovic for a starting spot in the English capital.
But despite his promise and the hefty fee Marco Silva’s men invested in him, he has been limited to substitute appearances in the league so far, wholly due to Mitrovic’s form in front of goal this term.
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Scoring a remarkable 20 goals in 17 Championship matches, he has virtually been undroppable and doesn’t look like slowing down at any point, looking on course to topple Ivan Toney’s 2020/21 total of 31 goals in the league.
Despite his limited opportunities, Muniz has managed to get himself in and amongst the goals, scoring against Reading in September and securing a late brace against Blackburn at Ewood Park last Wednesday to take his tally to three goals in eight league cameos.
His performance in Lancashire last week was particularly impressive, outmuscling a defender to prod the ball home for his first, before meeting a cross with a perfectly-placed header to make it two for him and seven for the Cottagers on the night.
One man who has been particularly impressed with the Brazilian is former Fulham man Davis, writing in his column for the official club website: “I was pleased for Rodrigo Muniz to come on and bag a brace, as he’s had to be very patient.
“He’ll have been over the moon at coming on and scoring a couple of goals.
“It keeps that pressure on Mitro which can only be a good thing.
“I really like Muniz, he’s such an athletic player and has a great eye for goal.”
Although Mitrovic is rightly getting praise for being in such good goalscoring form, this has overshadowed the performances of Muniz which is a shame because the 20-year-old has done brilliantly well in adapting to life in England and looks a real threat up top.
At some point during the season, the Serbian is likely to either sustain an injury, pick up a suspension or suffer a loss in form, so the fact his competitor was firing on all cylinders against Blackburn should be a great source of encouragement for Fulham fans.
The creativity of Neeskens Kebano, Harry Wilson and Bobby Decordova-Reid means he won’t be short of chances if he comes into the starting lineup at some point – but after starting just once for the Cottagers in a Carabao Cup tie – it may take him one or two games to adapt.
After that, he should be flying and at 20, there’s still a lot of time for him to develop his game.
Whether he would be ready to take on the potential opportunity of competing in the Premier League next season remains to be seen, but he’s certainly doing well enough at the moment and should get the sufficient opportunity to shine throughout the remainder of this campaign, regardless of Mitrovic’s form.