Brazilian legend criticises ineffective Spurs midfielder

Brazil's legendary playmaker Zico has criticised Tottenham Hotspur's Paulinho who he has described as a "problem" for the national team.

The World Cup hosts have yet to properly impress after a controversial victory against Croatia was followed by a stuttering goalless draw with Mexico.

And now Brazilian legend Zico has singled out Tottenham Hotspur midfielder Paulinho as the "problem" with the Seleção and has described him as a "shadow of the player" he was last year after the 0-0 draw with Mexico.

"Paulinho once again had a game to forget. He is a problem now because he is a shadow of the player who last year proved so important in creative and defensive duties," he said speaking in his column with The Guardian.

The 25-year-old put in some eye-catching performances for Brazil in the Confederations Cup last summer and his dynamic and energetic display's saw him move to the Premier League with Tottenham for £17 million.

However, Paulinho only showed glimpses of his talent for Spurs last season and was largely ineffective in a role which is rapidly growing obsolete in the modern game.

Nowadays, midfielders have to be either very good defensively, or an offensive danger who can create as well as score goals, and Paulinho is neither.

He is a box-to-box midfielder but one who does not inject enough life into the game as someone like Ramires does, and as a result should be dropped by Luiz Felipe Scolari.

"Paulinho had a tough season at Tottenham and it’s blatantly clear that he lacks rhythm and confidence. He is not as incisive as he used to be. That had obvious effects in Brazil’s midfield," Zico added.

  TeamPosTouchesPoss Lost AllTotal PassDuel WonDuel LostMins
Paulinho Brazil MF 40 11 28 2 6 90

The midfielder played the full game against the Mexicans but was very poor in the middle of the park, and couldn't help his side breakdown a resolute defence.

Paulinho lost possession 11 times, and lost four more duels in the middle of the park than he won.

New Tottenham boss Mauricio Pochettino will not be impressed by what he is seeing of his midfielder and Paulinho must improve quickly if he is to keep his place in both the Brazil and Tottenham team.


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