Striker Roberto Firmino has decided to join Brazil’s squad earlier in London for pre-World Cup training, in a sign he is keen to challenge Gabriel Jesus for a place in the team’s starting line-up.
The Liverpool player arrived at Tottenham’s training centre late on Monday and took fitness tests on Tuesday to make sure he was ready to fight for his pace at the earliest possible opportunity.
‘I had two more days to stay home, but I decided to come early and start now,’ Firmino told the Brazilian football confederation’s website.
Firmino was excused from training until Wednesday after losing the Champions League final against Real Madrid on Saturday.
European champions Casemiro and Marcelo plan to arrive in London on Wednesday as scheduled after helping Los Blancos to a third-successive Champions League title over the Reds in Kiev, Ukraine.
Firmino has challenged Manchester City’s Jesus for a place in the team after a strong season with Liverpool, scoring 27 goals and providing 16 assists across all competitions.
Jesus, who in comparison managed 17 goals and three assists for Manchester City, is returning from injury but finished the season with a flourish with four goals in his last six Premier League appearances.
The 21-year-old has been training alongside his Brazil team-mates for over a week and linked up with Neymar and Co. in Rio de Janeiro to begin preparations for the World Cup in Russia.
Brazil coach Tite is likely to favour Jesus at this early stage, but players will be given the chance to impress during a friendly fixture against Croatia, which is due to take place at Firmino’s favourite stomping ground, Anfield, on Sunday.