Marlon Gomes: Vasco Da Gama’s Next Midfield Phenom by Sebastian Ferro
Date of Birth: 14/12/2003 (19 years old)
Club: Vasco Da Gama
Position: Central Midfield, Attacking Midfield, Defensive Midfield
Height: 176cm (5 ft. 9 in)
Weight: 79 kg (174 lbs)
Strong Foot: Right
Youth: Vasco Da Gama
Market Value: € 4.00m (Transfermarkt)
Similar Players: Nicolo Barella, Rodrigo Bentancur
Marlon Gomes is a highly versatile 19 year old central midfielder that has become one of several exciting prospects from Brazil’s Vasco Da Gama youth academy in recent months. While Brazil is seemingly teeming with never ending young talent, Vasco Da Gama have had remarkable success over the past several seasons having developed several high profile midfielders including Phillipe Coutinho, Talles Magno, Andrey Santos and now Marlon Gomes. A highly versatile midfielder, Gomes is most effective as a box to box midfielder but has been featured in a variety of roles including attacking midfielder and even right back. When playing for the U20 Brazilian national team, which played in this year’s U20 World Cup and South American Youth Championship, he featured in a more consistent box to box role in midfield. With the national team, Marlon Gomes played an important role in winning the South American championship against Uruguay. A brilliant progressive passer and as technically capable as he is versatile, Marlon Gomes has the potential to be mentioned as one of the many talented and memorable Brazilian midfielders of recent memory.
Marlon Gomes was born on December 14th, 2003 in Rio De Janeiro, Brazil and like many Brazilians has essentially played football for his entire life. Joining the Escolinha de Futebol Arena das Nações academy at the age of five, he hopped around several youth clubs across Rio De Janeiro before joining Vasco Da Gama in 2017 at the age of 14. Marlon Gomes played at the youth level for several years before making his senior debut for Vasco Da Gama in the Brazilian second division on July 20, 2022 at the age of 18. From that point onwards Gomes has become a consistent starter for Vasco Da Gama, featuring 30 times and helping his side return to the Brazilian Serie A after spending two years in the second tier. Across those 30 appearances Gomes has scored twice and assisted twice from midfield, however more impressive than that has been his versatility across several positions. In his first season with Vasco Da Gama, Gomes played under several managers with different tactical styles and vision. As a result, Gomes was asked to play as a central midfielder, attacking midfielder, left midfielder, right midfielder and even as a right fullback. Despite the inconsistency Gomes performed notably across all positions, he has also featured more consistently this season as a box to box midfielder yielding an even greater impact on the pitch.
At the international level Marlon Gomes has been a regular feature for Brazil, and most recently has featured at the U-20 level after making his debut for the Brazilian U16s at the age of 15 in 2019. At the U20 South American Championship earlier this year Marlon Gomes was an integral part of Brazil’s midfield, starring alongside fellow Vasco Da Gama academy graduate Andrey Santos. Additionally Marlon Gomes was phenomenal during the U20 World Cup earlier this summer, although Brazil were only able to reach the quarterfinals of the tournament before being knocked out by Israel. During the U20 World Cup, Gomes played a more box to box central midfield role, yet was still able to provide one goal and two assists across the five matches of the tournament. Most recently Marlon Gomes was called up to the Brazilian U23 squad for international friendlies this fall, and should expect to feature in the U23 side for the Pan-American games this October and pre-olympic qualification in January 2024.
Marlon Gomes is an extremely talented box-to-box midfielder but what sticks out the most is his versatility across the pitch. Across the past two seasons in Serie B and Serie A Gomes has featured across several positions including as a central defensive midfielder and right winger. As of late, he has consistently featured as a central midfielder in a 4-3-3 or a 4-4-2. With that being said, that is not to say that he stays in a fixed position during the match. During the 90 minutes Gomes can be found pressing the opposition high up the pitch, defending deep as part of a low block, and dribbling past defenders near the touchline while in possession. When looking at his defensive qualities of Marlon Gomes, what stands out are his high work rate and technical capabilities. Gomes can be seen successfully completing defensive actions all over the pitch during any given match, often winning the ball against opponents with larger body profiles. While his physical stature is quite average for the position, his high stamina and intelligent positioning makes him a remarkable defensive presence. Additionally, he is a very capable midfielder in terms of ball carrying and dribbling into dangerous areas. Often after winning the ball back, Gomes can be seen looking to make progressive runs into the opponent’s final third in the transition. Overall his technical ability is very impressive and is very much capable of making effective runs near the touchline highlighting his flair. If there is any area to improve upon it would be his passing efficiency and volume. While he looks to make progressive passes and key chances during a match, he needs to tighten this part of his game and look to have goal creating actions with greater frequency to make this a true highlight of his game.
Game 1: Red Bull Bragantino v Vasco Da Gama – Brazilian Serie A (14-08-2023)
- Featured as a right-sided CM in a 4-1-4-1
- Named a starter and was substituted at the start of the second half
- Extremely fluid as a box-to box midfielder, occupying spaces in the opposition third as well as his own penalty box across the whole width of the pitch
- Moderately successful in his defensive actions, made several ball recoveries and interceptions in his own half. However did not win many of his duels and was booked halfway through the first half
- Did not carry the ball into attacking areas and instead looked to start offensive actions with long through balls over the top to mixed results
- Average pass accuracy but did not attempt many passes while on the pitch
- Seemed overwhelmed by pace of game/opposition press as seen by hasty decision making with the ball
- Regardless, he showed high level stamina and work rate based on his play style and positioning across the pitch
Game 2: Vasco Da Gama v Gremio – Brazilian Serie A (06-08-2023)
- Featured as a CM in a 4-3-3
- Entered the game as a substitute in the 72’
- Held a fluid position as a box-to-box midfielder, played well in central attack areas as well as getting involved in the left side of the pitch during offensive build up
- Made several successful defensive actions including interceptions and aerial duels
- Looked comfortable progressing the ball into the attacking third, mixed success as a dribbler
- Looked comfortable passing the ball, particularly in the attacking third and nearly had a key chance converted into an assist
- Looked more assured with the ball at his feet, played less risky passes and knew when to pass off the ball to a teammate
- High level stamina and strong workrate, looked to press and win the ball back across all areas of the pitch
Game 3: Vasco Da Gama v Atletico Paranaense – Brazilian Serie A (23-07-2023)
- Featured as a CM in a 4-3-3
- Entered the game as a substitute in the 60’
- Covered a lot of ground as a box-to-box midfielder, looked most effective on the left side of the field during offensive build up
- Looked solid in his defensive actions, made a couple of key interceptions
- Looked very comfortable dribbling with the ball at his feet, especially near the touchline
- Was able to win a foul in his own defensive third
- Looked solid passing the ball, however his one cross from the byline was poor
- Displayed a high level of stamina and work rate, constantly running since he was initially substituted. Covered most of the ground on the pitch during offensive and defensive phases of play. Did commit an unnecessary foul trying to win the ball back
Game 4: Vasco Da Gama v Cruzeiro – Brazilian Serie A (08-07-2023)
- Featured as a CM in a 4-3-3
- Was named a starter and was substituted in the 60’
- Covered a lot of ground as a box-to-box midfielder, affecting play in all corners of the pitch. Initial position was deep in midfield
- Looked very capable in his defensive actions, won most of his duels and made key interceptions
- Was very effective passing the ball in all areas of the pitch, had an accurate long pass and created a key chance that was not converted into a goal
- Was very effective progressing the ball and carrying up the pitch. Was an effective dribbler especially near the touchline
- Was fouled twice in the build up as he was carrying the ball up the pitch
- Displayed a high level of stamina and work rate, constantly running since he was initially substituted. Covered most of the ground on the pitch during offensive and defensive phases of play. Looked to press opponents high up the pitch to mixed results
Game 5: Botafogo v Vasco Da Gama – Brazilian Serie A (02-07-2023)
- Featured as the right CM in a 4-4-2
- Named a starter and featured the full 90 minutes although spent most of the game defending in his own half. Initial position was deep in midfield
- Phenomenal with his defensive actions, won a large number of duels and interceptions including two well timed tackles in his own penalty box. Only fouled the opponent once in a heavily lopsided game for Botafogo
- Was not that effective passing the ball in what was a difficult match offensively, looked to make more long passes and created a key chance that was not converted into a goal
- Was a very effective dribbler and was constantly looking to get the ball into the attacking third when possible
- Was fouled twice in the build up as he was carrying the ball up the pitch
- Displayed a high level of stamina and work rate, constantly running for the full 90 minutes. Covered most of the ground on the pitch during offensive and defensive phases of play. Looked to press opponents high up the pitch and force mistakes when receiving the ball very effectively
Marlon Gomes has such a high work rate and will be found in all corners of the pitch during a given game. Here Gomes makes an interception deep in his own defensive third, plays a dangerous ball into the left half space, and makes a central run into the opponent’s penalty box all during the first half of the match.
Using his positioning and high defensive IQ, Gomes makes an interception at midfield and then lays the ball off to a teammate before continuing his run into the attacking third.
Gomes is a highly technical midfielder and loves to make progressive runs into dangerous areas. Here he makes a driving run after winning the ball in midfield before laying it off to a teammate.
Given his versatility, his current talent as well as his potential it is completely understandable as to why some of the biggest clubs in Europe have sent their scouts to monitor Gomes, especially after his exceptional performances in the U20 World Cup and South American Youth Championship. At the time of writing clubs such as AC Milan, Borussia Dortmund and Brighton Hove Albion have all been rumored to have been interested in acquiring the talented Brazilian midfielder over the past few months. In my personal opinion, it would not be very surprising to see him make a high profile move to Europe most likely when the current Brazilian Serie A season ends in December. What is most important at this time for Gomes is to feature regularly at the first team level which he is currently doing at Vasco Da Gama. Gomes is a clear diamond in the rough in terms of their squad depth and does not deserve to be playing in Serie B next season which is a very real possibility. By finishing the season with Vasco Da Gama, he will be able to further refine his current abilities while playing consistent minutes, something that is not guaranteed in Europe. He has the technical ability and versatility across positions to excel at his current level but needs to refine some of the finer points of his game in order to truly develop as a world class talent. Personally I would love to see him continue to develop as a box to box midfielder or solely as a ball winning midfielder as some of his defensive attributes are just outstanding. While his dribbling and ball progression is impressive in the final third, his production in this part of the field simply isn’t there yet and can be more productive elsewhere on the pitch. His performances at the international youth level show that he is a wonderful talent with the potential to become a superstar but he needs to apply his skills with more consistency at the club level to prove he is ready to compete at the highest level. Regardless of this, I am personally very excited to see what the future holds for Marlon Gomes as I believe he has the attributes to excel in a top European side. With his elite position, technique and excellent workrate, do not be surprised to be signing for a top club sooner rather than later.