Soccer

Gabriel Jesus has become Brazil's 'new Ronaldo' – captain Dani Alves

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Gabriel Jesus says Neymar has been positive, as always, with Brazil despite reports of a rift at PSG.

Brazil captain Dani Alves has hailed Gabriel Jesus as the side’s “new Ronaldo” as they prepare for Tuesday’s friendly with England.

The visitors to Wembley are among the favourites for next summer’s World Cup in Russia, owing largely to the potent combination of Gabriel and Neymar in the final third, and have improved considerably since Tite’s appointment as manager in June 2016.

Their last World Cup victory was inspired by Ronaldo in 2002 but Gabriel’s continued emergence for Manchester City and his country has increased optimism surrounding their chances.

“I wasn’t joking when I called him the new Ronaldo,” Alves said. “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.”

Gabriel joined City from Palmeiras in January and Tite said the Premier League club owe the Brazilian side for developing the striker.

“City should be very pleased with Palmeiras and the coaches there who formed a player [Jesus] who is already at such a good level,” he said.

“To the point he came here with a natural fluency. I already mentioned the mental capacity he has and his technical ability. He didn’t need much time to adapt, he was already showing a very good level.”

England have similar confidence in the abilities of their striker Harry Kane, and Tite said: “The characteristics of Gabriel Jesus and Kane are a bit different. Gabriel attacks the space, gives us that depth; Kane is more positional. They’re two strong strikers.

Gabriel Jesus will come up against England with Brazil on Tuesday.

“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.”

Friday’s performance in the 0-0 draw at home to Germany, in which Gareth Southgate selected a new-look, youthful team, has also ensured confidence has begun to grow around England.

They have also this year won World Cups at under-20 and U17 level, and a European Championship at U19 level.

“Tite said: “All the big teams, like England, have this new generation coming through.

“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 [for the World Cup]. I’m not just saying that because I’m here at Wembley, speaking in front of English people.

“Compared to Japan [last week], the technical demands of [Tuesday’s] game are going to be higher.

“Historically, England’s 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 expect to have Philippe Coutinho available at Wembley after he missed Friday’s defeat of Japan because of the groin injury that had recently ruled him out at Liverpool. He is in line to replace Chelsea’s Willian alongside Neymar and Gabriel.

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