Our star player Coutinho has responded in typically professional and dignified fashion to his international manager Dunga’s comments.
Dunga, the 1994 World Cup winning captain, has chosen Kaka over Coutinho for the World Cup qualifiers during this international break – despite the fact the former plays in MLS and will be 36 by the next big tournament in Russia.
“You cannot leave an empty seat. If the guy comes in, sits down and plays well he will remain in the squad. The players have to seize their opportunities,” Dunga said, essentially claiming that Coutinho has not impressed enough when called up.
But our 23-year-old is aware there’s plenty of competition for places in his country’s attacking midfield, and has vowed to rightly earn his spot at some point.
“I think Brazil is too big when it comes to football,” he told Goal.
“We have so many players. It is tough to choose only a small number when we produce so many stars, so to stay in the team is very difficult.
“I am disappointed when I am not part of the national squad, because I love playing and contributing for my country.
“But whether I get the call or not, I continue working really hard and pushing myself to improve.
“I am still young and I know I will still have many chances so I have to make sure I’m ready to take them. I will get to my best and give my all for Liverpool and if I’m selected for Brazil again, I will fight to stay in the team.”
Brazil’s loss is very much our gain, in this instance. Instead of a tiring journey to South America, Coutinho has stayed on Melwood alongside Roberto Firmino, Daniel Sturridge and Jordan Henderson among others, to train with Jurgen Klopp.
The new boss will be delighted with the chance to hone the skills of his best players for a fortnight long period – and in fact – Coutinho scored a brace in a behind closed doors friendly at Melwood this afternoon, according to the official website.