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How Richarlison fits into the Brazilian national team

It all starts with who he replaced.

Everton FC v Southampton FC - Premier League Photo by Alex Livesey/Getty Images

It’s always good for a player to get a chance at his first national team cap, even if it is just a friendly. Richarlison has been called up to replace the injured Pedro, a 21 year old who plays for Fluminense.

This fact immediately puts Richarlison’s place in the national team scheme into perspective: he is replacing a player the same age as he is who plays for the same Brazilian league team he used to play on.

If Richarlison learns from his mistake at Bournemouth and continues the form we saw in his first two games in an Everton shirt, that will all be inconsequential and he will find himself a regular for Brazil, but after a very slow second half of the season last year he was not considered worth including in a squad initially released on August 18th, the day Richarlison scored his third goal in two games.

In addition to Richarlison, the forwards for this Brazilian squad will be Neymar, Willian, Roberto Firmino, Douglas Costa, and Everton (not a typo, he’s a player in the Brazilian league.)

Neymar, Willian, and Firmino seem likely to start here, and Richarlison will be competing with Douglas Costa for substitute winger roles. The good news is that these friendlies for Brazil represent more of a marketing campaign than anything, and it is unlikely that the starters will be risked for a full 90 minutes in either friendly (against the United States and then the very physical El Salvador).

He will almost certainly get his chance, given his recent form (and the fact that he has some time away from the club because of his three game suspension). We can expect to see him coming down the wing for Brazil in a 433, and what will be interesting to see over the two games is who he gets to pair with.

In addition to the forwards mentioned, Coutinho is on the roster, as are Alex Sandro, Casemiro, and Filipe Luis. Willian’s starting position in the medium term is up for grabs (the player is 30) and Richarlison seems at this juncture to be one of the leading candidates to take it over by the next time Brazil plays competitive matches.