Leonardo and the University of Compton


‘Leonardo’, means ‘Brave Lion. It’s always good when you are linked with a player that has a name like that…instead of Craig Neckback or Ben Armlock. Nothing wrong with the names Ben or Craig before people start sending me surreptitious weird hate mail…again. No, it’s good to have names like that because it means something good might arrive. I mean I’ve just read about Ben Marshall signing part time for a club. Remember Ben Marshall? That was just a couple of years ago mate. Let me please wax a few thoughts. 

Leonardo Campana has Spanish pedigree and a sporting pedigree too. No shuffling around playing football in the dirt roads of Ecuador…well probably not a lot. His great-grandfather, Gabriel, won six Ecuadorian league winners’ medals in the 1920s, his Father is former Tennis star Pablo Campana and Grandfather Isidro Romero Carbo was the President of Barcelona Sporting Club for many years. Romero was instrumental in getting the Ecuadorian club their own stadium the Estadio Monumental Banco Pichincha. There is pedigree like I say and may I say a metaphysical  ‘DNA’ profile that runs through Campana that has names like Pele and Chuchuca connected to it. You know I’m big on metaphysical things, threads and connections to things. So there is one that glides around this name for sure. A stoical thread for sure, you can see that in the way the lad plays. One that has ideas of his own that he would like to see flourish under the correct tutelage, because this is about development, this is about learning. 

Leonardo Campana has been connected to our team and I am very interested in him as for some reason when I heard his name mentioned I had a weird feeling in my belly…like something had clicked into place that wasn’t wind or indigestion. Let’s have a look at him shall we, see what’s going on. 

Well he fits the Fosun-Wolves profile for sure. Young, ready to erupt onto the world stage, ready to make his mark on the game. The place to do it for sure is here at Wolves. Regardless of the fact he is a Mendes client…I mean Uncle Jorge would definitely point him in the direction of Wolves. Where else would he get an introduction to European football that is as nurturing as Compton? Not many places for sure. Compton is rapidly becoming a University of football not a training ground. Here is where young players learn to be Professionals for sure. The nurture environment is second to none in English Football. This is what attracts, this is what draws these types of players in. 

Now the Flakeys will be going mad of course that we are connected with him. He’s too young, he hasn’t scored many goals. There is also that part of our fanbase who are just waiting for the wheels to fall off any transfer activity so they can vent their angst and their wobbly chins will be going ten to the dozen as they wax crumbly flakey lyrics to anybody that listens to them. Forget those doughnuts. They are an anachronism of the past.

Campana is a clinical compact little player even though he is a lofty lad. He reminds me very much of how Jimmy plays. A bit of a lurker in the box at times, others he is Killmanesque in that he can move the ball around quite nimbly under pressure. Especially in the box. But where I see him fitting into the Nuno style of play is that he is an unlocker. He’s got a bloody accurate foot on him, at least from the videos I’ve watched of him. He’s also a nippy player, good acceleration with and without the ball, he moves well for a big lad. We play excellent Counter attacking football. That’s why we tend to have a defence full of midfielders. These players are used to pinging the ball accurately at either our wide men (if they are in position) or to our three front players with pace and ability who split the defence into pieces as soon as they erupt into that final third. I like to forget about the obvious goal scoring abilities of Campana here because I’m thinking his pace and his ability to hold onto the ball at pace will be an addition for us. He seems like an ‘unlocker’ too, quite nifty in the box, physical at times, brave too. Doesn’t mind getting his nut on the ball if its the only thing he can control it with. I’ve watched him get kicked in the head a few times. He needs that ball and he is vocal about getting it too. He can direct play, move players around him and press into spaces pulling defenders around. Very much in the mold of Jimmy for sure. 

Now I can fill pages on why this lad will fit into the footballing side of things. He is well regarded, mature…but where he will fit into the Nuno idea is his motivation and his drive. Forget about the other stuff for a minute. You can twaddle around on YouTube all day looking at his goals and assists and I’ve done that myself. But there is a Zeitgeist with this one, something off the radar. I mean let me throw this into the mix a second. Where I have learned most about young Leonardo is by watching his Father talk about his son. So I delve into the nether regions of South American and Ecuador sports reports and Newspapers. I search for quotes and statements about Leonardo that come from his Father. Now I start to understand a little more about Leonardos drive. There is a hunger there and that hunger consumes him. It’s a hunger to score and to be successful, it’s motivation from the highest and most knowledgeable source. His family. 

Could we see Leonardo at Manchester City or United? At Tottenham? Arsenal? No. Simply because these clubs will not nurture and teach, they will only ravage. Leonardos motivation will see him and Nuno, the staff, everybody at Wolves connected with training start to develop Leonardo into something much different to what he is now. This may well be Traore levels of nurturing to be honest, and we have seen what that can do. We watch the results of it every week nearly. We see it in Neto, a fringe player at Lazio, now practically a first team player, and so young. Already we have seen how Neto has developed under Nunos tutelage. He has roared forwards. Neto is also motivated, also driven. Campana will thrive here and will add value to his playing ability…imagine him learning from Moutinho, Neves and Jota what things he will learn. Imagine him sitting down with Nuno and his staff learning new things too. 

I know one thing for sure. If Leonardo signs for us then he will become a much better player, he will develop and he will learn new things. I said earlier that Compton has become a University of Football now not a training ground. That’s something that Morgan and Jez never really had the imagination to see. There seems to be some kind of pseudo scientific approach to learning at Compton now. I can see the subtle changes in the personality of players that come to us, they seem happy and content but also somehow grateful that they have ended up here by some strange quirk of Mendean fate perhaps. But that’s a by product of being at Compton now. Nobody is happier and more content than learning a new skill that will make them more successful and prosperous. It’s just that the new skill they learn at Compton is how to play football better and start seeing it not as a game where you impinge your own idea of how it should be played but by operating within a greater whole or system that encourages your own personal growth through the success of the team.

I hope he likes what he sees there and he ends up signing for us. He must be a hard working motivated young man to even be connected with us and Nuno will work wonders on him. Here’s hoping.