Brazil manager Tite admits Roberto Firmino is worthy of more opportunities following his limited involvement at the recent World Cup in Russia.
The Liverpool striker was often overlooked in favour of Manchester City’s Gabriel Jesus, who had cemented his starting spot up front thanks to his prominent role throughout qualifying.
A string of bright cameos saw Firmino push his compatriot close, with Tite’s decision to keep his faith in Jesus proving increasingly divisive among fans.
Firmino was handed a rare start in Friday’s friendly win over the USA before opening the scoring in the 11th minute to send a message to his manager.
Speaking to reporters, Tite said: “Roberto Firmino and Douglas Costa deserve more chances.”
TITE admits World Cup mistake:
"Roberto Firmino and Douglas Costa deserve more chances." pic.twitter.com/FsezWx84P3
— Seleção Brasileira (@BrazilStat) September 8, 2018
It was Costa’s bursting run on the right-hand side and crisp follow up cross that fed Firmino for his close-range finish on the night.
Liverpool’s no.9 was substituted with 15 minutes remaining in Friday’s game having showcased his interchanging expertise at the tip of Brazil’s attack.
He not only offered the work ethic and high pressing that saw Jesus hold down a starting spot, but supplied the kind of poacher’s movement and instinct that his teammate had lacked throughout the summer.
Firmino gave his technicians an outlet in behind when possible, as well as regularly operating in the channels or dropping deep to contribute to his side’s build up play.
Tite boasts something of a luxury dilemma choosing between two of the Premier League’s top forwards. Right now, it’s Firmino who undoubtedly deserves the nod for an extended run of games.