London (AFP) – Brazil coach Tite views England as one of the favourites to win next year’s World Cup and believes the cosmopolitan nature of the Premier League has benefited their national team.
England manager Gareth Southgate successfully blooded several new players in Friday’s 0-0 friendly draw with Germany and will again be obliged to field an inexperienced team against Brazil on Tuesday due to injuries.
With Dele Alli, Harry Kane and Raheem Sterling among the players unavailable for England, Tite is convinced Southgate’s men will be serious contenders in Russia.
“Even though Southgate has only had 13 games (as manager) so far, with Dele Alli, Kane and the experience of (Gary) Cahill, that tradition counts, so I see England as one of the favourites,” Tite said on Monday.
“I’m not just saying that because I’m here at Wembley, speaking in front of English people.
“Compared to Japan, the technical demands of (Tuesday’s) game are going to be higher.
“Historically, England’s (football) is a mix between technical football, on the floor, but also physical contact, quality, short passing, triangulation.
“In the Premier League there are so many foreign coaches and different players. It’s a very strong league with different styles.”
Brazil have been flying since Tite succeeded the sacked Dunga in June 2016, qualifying at a canter for next year’s World Cup and winning 13 of the 16 games they have played under his stewardship.
The five-time world champions warmed up for the trip to Wembley by beating Japan 3-1 in Lille on Friday, with Gabriel Jesus scoring the third goal to take his Brazil tally to eight goals in 12 games.
English football fans are no stranger to Jesus’s talents due to his displays for Manchester City and Brazil team-mate Dani Alves believes he can become as important to the national team as the great Ronaldo.
“I wasn’t joking when I called him the new Ronaldo,” Alves told Monday’s pre-match press conference at Wembley.
“He’s already great and will get even better. For all that he’s done, all that he’s achieved, there’s no pressure. He’s doing what he loves.”
England’s own goal-scoring talisman, Kane, is absent due to injury, but although Tite said he and Jesus could be compared in terms of influence, he feels they are very different players.
“The characteristics of Gabriel Jesus and Kane are a bit different,” said the former Corinthians coach.
“Gabriel attacks the space, gives us that depth; Kane is more positional. They’re two strong strikers.
“Kane is a penalty-box player with an impressive finishing ability. He’s good in the air, good with his right foot and left. It’s very impressive. He has a lot of quality.”
Tite is expected to recall Liverpool playmaker Philippe Coutinho to the starting XI after he sat out the win over Japan due to a groin injury.
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