Gilberto Silva is a big fan of Manchester City forward Gabriel Jesus, with the youngster considered by the World Cup winner to be a “natural player” and a man who can help Neymar with Brazil.
Barcelona superstar Neymar has long been viewed as a talisman for his country, with the expectations of a football-mad nation rested squarely on his shoulders.
He has often delivered, with gold medal glory inspired by his showings at the 2016 Olympics, but any assistance will be most welcome.
Jesus, at the age of 19, has shown enough in his blossoming career to suggest that he is capable of sharing the load, with his potential exciting those keeping a close on his development for club and country.
Former Brazil international Gilberto Silva told Sport360 ahead of the resumption of 2018 World Cup qualification fixtures: “At the moment, Brazil suffer from a dependence on Neymar, but that may change with Jesus.
“He can help Neymar and lift a bit of the responsibility of his shoulders. But it’s not only about Neymar and Jesus. The players need to take their responsibility to deliver what is expected from them.
“The experience they have now is very different from the 2014 World Cup. The World Cup qualifiers in South America are a big test and help you mature. That’s the level of difficulty you’d face at a Confederations Cup or a World Cup, but, in 2014, Brazil didn’t have the experience of the qualifiers.
“That was an important part that Brazil had missed out on at the time. You go to Venezuela, Ecuador and Bolivia and those games are very helpful. This time around they will be more experienced in terms of the big games and the circumstances. Brazil will be much better.”
Jesus linked up with City in January, having burst onto the scene in his homeland with Palmeiras.
He made an immediate impact in the Premier League before suffering a broken metatarsal and former Arsenal midfielder Silva is delighted to see a player of such promise spreading his wings.
“It is great to see a Brazilian player with his ability adapting so quickly to the Premier league,” added a member of the Gunners’ 2003-04 Invincibles squad.
“Moving to England was a big step for Jesus. He has not only shown his ability, but also his maturity.
“He is a natural player – the way he does things. He plays in a simple way. He is young and he still has a lot to learn in terms of tactics and team play.
“Jesus can also improve his game individually. The Premier League will be a great school. He should absorb everything he can. He has to absorb the maximum to produce his very best.”