Spurs: Conte must unleash Richarlison

Tottenham Hotspur saw a number of their first-team stars take to the international stage on Friday, with Son Heung-min scoring a spectacular free-kick in South Korea’s 2-2 draw with Costa Rica, Harry Kane and Eric Dier playing the full 90 in England’s 1-0 Nations League defeat to Italy, Rodrigo Bentancur featuring in Uruguay’s 1-0 loss to Iran and Yves Bissouma getting a second-half run-out in Mali’s 1-0 victory over Zambia.

However, it was undoubtedly the display of Spurs’ £60m summer signing Richarlison that most caught the eye on yesterday evening, with the forward playing a starring role in Brazil’s 3-0 friendly triumph over Ghana at Le Havre AC’s Stade Océane in France.

Indeed, with Arsenal duo Gabriel Jesus and Gabriel Martinelli absent from the latest A Seleção squad, the Tottenham attacker was handed the perfect opportunity to not only prove to Tite he is deserving of a starting spot at the Qatar World Cup later this year, but also to convince Antonio Conte that he should be selected from the off in the North London Derby next weekend – having started just twice in the Premier League thus far in 2022/23.

And, the 25-year-old certainly did his chances of either no harm, twice combining with Paris Saint-Germain star Neymar to bag a first-half brace, affording his side an extremely comfortable 3-0 lead at the break.

His first was an extremely well-taken first-time finish from the edge of the Black Stars’ penalty area, with Richarlison latching on to Neymar’s pinpoint pass that split Daniel Amartey and Alexander Djiku, before cooly slotting beyond Jojo Wollacott into the bottom right-hand corner to double Brazil’s advantage in the match.

His second would come just 12 minutes later, with Neymar once again providing the assist, this time with the £62.5m-rated Spurs sensation turning in the winger’s free-kick with a smartly taken near-post header – coming as a direct result of an exceptional piece of movement by the striker shortly before the ball was delivered.

As such, despite the wealth of attacking talent – such as the aforementioned Jesus and Martinelli, as well as the likes of Vinícius Júnior, Raphinha, Antony, Matheus Cunha and Rodrygo – at Tite’s disposal, the forward who the 61-year-old manager claimed “smells like a goal” after Friday’s victory very much looks to be the front runner for Brazil’s number nine shirt in Qatar.

How well do you know Spurs manager Antonio Conte?

Question 1. During his playing days, in which position did Conte typically operate?

And, considering just how deadly in front of goal the 25-year-old was for A Seleção last time out, it would appear wise for Conte to take a leaf out of Tite’s book when Tottenham return to Premier League action next weekend, as starting an in-form Richarlison in Spurs’ front three would undoubtedly increase the Lilywhites chances of leaving The Emirates with all three points on Saturday afternoon – a result that would see Conte’s outfit climb above the Gunners at the top of the table.

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