Palmeiras and Brazil supporters will hope this is the very last time Endrick is compared to Theo Walcott, but the 16-year-old could be a wildcard for the Selecao in the 2022 World Cup.

Brazil fans are excited at the prospect of Endrick developing into one of the best footballers in the world. At such a tender age, it’s important to temper expectations. However, Endrick is being tipped as the next Neymar/Vinicius Jr.

Despite having made only four appearances in the Brazilian Serie A in 2022, the prodigious talent is being tipped for a late call-up to Brazil’s World Cup squad.

In those four games he has scored twice. Endrick also has contributed one assist. Statistics don’t tell the full story. The teenager’s talent is clear when he is on the ball. He has the grace and poise reminiscent of the very best.

Could Endrick join Brazil at the World Cup?

Endrick has just started making his way as a professional footballer. He isn’t yet a definitive regular for Palmeiras and hasn’t received a full cap for Brazil.

In 2006, Theo Walcott was tipped as the next great England player. He had everything. Electric pace and close control. Walcott had been signed by Arsenal, despite having made just 13 senior appearances at Southampton.

So, it came as a monumental surprise when Sven-Goran Eriksson picked the 17-year-old Walcott to go to the 2006 World Cup.

Endrick, of course, wasn’t even born, when this decision was made, but the comparisons are obvious.

Eriksson’s reasoning was that Walcott was a secret weapon. He had the talent to make a difference from the bench and teams couldn’t prepare for him.

Ultimately, he didn’t make a single appearance at the 2006 World Cup, but Tite may be tempted to do something similar with Endrick.

With a talent as gifted as Endrick, you want him to get experience of tournament life.

Brazilian football expects the 16-year-old to be part of the Selecao for the next 15 years. What better way to get him acclimatized to international football by just being around a tournament environment?

Brazil are overloaded with talent in attack

Endrick wouldn’t expect to get minutes in Qatar, with Tite having an incredible wealth of attacking options.

Neymar, Vinicius Jr and Rodrygo are arguably his strongest front trio. Then there is Raphinha, Antony, Richarlison, Roberto Firmino and Matheus Cunha.

Endrick being selected to train with those senior players closely would allow him to learn something from them. Furthermore, you can never turn your nose up at an option to have a wildcard option from the bench.

Consider Brazil being ahead in a knockout fixture but down to 10 players. What better than bringing a fresh and hungry teenage superstar on to run the channels and give the Selecao an out ball for the final minutes.

What makes Endrick so special?

Endrick will be in European football before you know it. He’s too talented. There hasn’t been a prodigy like him since Neymar.

Neymar’s talent encouraged people to tune into Santos games in the middle of the night in Europe. Endrick has that star factor.

Like Erling Haaland, he just makes something happen whenever he plays. In seven appearances in the Under-20 Copinha, he has six goals.

Endrick plays anywhere across the front line, but will likely settle as a center-forward, which would ease his passage into the Brazilian national team.

It’s difficult to select a player Endrick most resembles. He has Neymar-esque quick feet and technical qualities.

Furthermore, he can find the net like Ronaldo Nazario. If Endrick adds physical power to his frame, then perhaps we have a successor to R9 on our hands.

Real Madrid and Barcelona already want him. Manchester City have scouted him extensively. Endrick is set for stardom, and Tite making a bold move that catapults the teenager into the mainstream conscious, would create that far earlier than anticipated.

PHOTO: IMAGO / Fotoarena