Gabriel Jesus; “My Best Is Yet To Come”


Australia and Argentina Friendlies Give Brazil’s Fringe Players a Chance to Shine
With Brazil’s qualification for the World Cup guaranteed, coach Tite has the liberty of assessing his options ahead of next summer’s tournament in Russia. He has elected to leave out mainstays such as Neymar, Dani Alves, Marcelo, Alisson, Casemiro, Miranda and Marquinhos for June matches against Argentina and Australia in Melbourne.

Earlier this month, Tite suggested that omitting Neymar was about more than just resting his weary legs. Tite is a very practical coach and he wants to be able to fireproof his team against all eventualities. If for any reason he has to play without Neymar in Russia, he will want to find solutions in inconsequential matches in Melbourne.

Tite will also use the opportunity to examine some fringe players and the likes of Alex Sandro, Jemerson, Rodrigo Caio and Diego Alves will have the chance to bid for a place on the plane to Eastern Europe. The only surprise, in this context, is that Tite doesn’t seem to feel as experimental with his centre forward choices.

Gabriel Jesus is absolutely unrivalled for the number 9 spot. Brazil have struggled for a centre forward for over a decade, so 19 year old Jesus’ rise has proved timely. But it’s difficult to see what the back up options are. In March, with the City striker injured, Tite opted for Roberto Firmino as a false 9, but the Liverpool man is not going to be involved in Melbourne.
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Much rests on the young man’s shoulders- if he becomes unavailable for any reason next summer, there doesn’t seem to be a firm contingency plan in place. Sport’s Diego Souza has been called, but at 29 years old, he does not seem to be a firm option.

The inclusion of David Luiz is interesting too. A series of awkward performances in 2014 and 2015 seem to have brought the curtain down on his international career, but he has starred at the centre of a back 3 for Chelsea this season. The system certainly suits Luiz’s qualities and it invites the question as to whether Title might want to experiment with a back 3.

He is very keen on finding in game solutions to tactical issues and the ability to switch mid-game might appeal to him. There again, he did suggest that Luiz was perfectly capable of playing in a back 4. If Luiz can enjoy another year of progress, he might just nudge onto the place to Russia ahead of Gil. The partnership of Miranda and Marquinhos is certain to form the first-choice pairing.

It might have been better for Brazil to take on at least one European side, having already faced Argentina plenty of times in recent years. But by electing to leave some of his starts at home, Tite is not bowing to commercial pressure from sponsors, the planning for the World Cup is well under way.

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