The move was kept quiet and when we signed him many asked who he was and how good was he. He made his first appearance for United in the second string where he showed much promise leading Brian McClair to claim,
“It looks as if he’s got quite a bit of talent.”
He never looked spectacular but upon him signing that wasn’t what we were told to expect as Brian McClair said upon his signing:
“Rodrigo is a tall, elegant midfielder who fits into the idea of a modern footballer. He has very good ability and is a box-to-box player rather than your silky tricky midfielder.”
In his sparse collection of games with the first team, he looked more than comfortable at just 19 years old playing in the United first team. He showed a decent range of passing with either foot, an awareness of what was going on around him at all times but most impressively was the fact he was never rushed in possession. He would always have that extra second on the ball that allowed him to make the right move.
Having made his first team debut against Newcastle at the start of the 08/09 season, it was thought that Possebon could go on and establish himself as a squad player but after a horror tackle from Emmanuel Pogatez in a 3rd round league cup tie, Possebon’s situation changed. It was initially feared that Possebon had broken his leg and Sir Alex was furious but following a trip to the hospital it was revealed the midfielder had only suffered a deep cut and possible ligament damage.
Possebon returned for the first team in November again in the league cup but the momentum was gone. His play was still as efficient but there was something different in him, it was as if perhaps his confidence had taken a knock after the tackle. At the age of 19 such outcomes are to be expected. He carried on making sparse appearances for the first team picking up a league cup medal as an unused sub before being sent on loan to Sporting Braga in Portugal for the 09/10 season.
A change in management shortly after he arrived in Portugal saw his appearances at the club limited to less than 45 minutes. It was claimed he had argued with his new manager over being substituted and regularly missed training but whatever the story was he just couldn’t break into the first team and eventually the loan was cut short.
During pre-season he has scored twice in 3 reserve games including a spectacular long range effort against Dunfermline’s first team so why is he being written off?
Whilst I felt he showed he could be a decent player for the club many fans didn’t see anything special in him and felt that had he been born with a less exotic name we wouldn’t have been raving over him. The competition for places in the team is fierce and it appears Darron Gibson has surpassed him in the queue to the first team. The fact he was effective without being spectacular also worked against him (had he scored a goal like the one against Dunfermline for the first team I’m sure more people would be interested in how he progresses).
The loan spell at Braga did nothing for him in terms of development and reputation. Whilst he may have been good enough to play for them, the fact he didn’t even though it may have been because of non footballing reasons like attitude, means the move is often looked at like ‘he wasn’t good enough to play there so what chance does he have at Old Trafford?’
Possebon looks to be finding his stride with Ole’s team and could find himself back in the first team picture with a lot of hard work and even more luck. At just 21 he still has some years to prove himself at the club, well at least I hope so. He seemed a tidy player and despite many feeling he has no future at the club he could just as easily develop into a player good enough to justify his place at Old Trafford.