The 28-year-old midfielder has returned to the Brazil squad for the first time since 2012 and has outlined his intentions to claim the defensive midfield role in Scolari’s side.
The former Shakhtar Donetsk man has returned to the Selecao for this Wednesday’s Gillette Brasil Global Tour match with South Africa at Soccer City in Johannesburg, his first call-up since 2012 and his first under Felipao.
“I’m treating it like it’s the first time, because right now my ambitions are different, and I’m determined to give a good account of myself,” he told FIFA.com. “I want to give the coach a real headache when he sits down to choose his World Cup squad.
“I’ve changed a great deal as a player since arriving in England. I’ve learnt a lot in terms of tactics and technique in a very short time here. All this has helped with my adaptation to the English game and, as a result, my return to the national squad.”
The 28-year-old has forged a successful midfield partnership with Yaya Toure since arriving in the Premier League, adapting to a more restrained defensive position, and says he is desperate to make the holding role in Scolari’s midfield his own.
“For this squad the coach has called up Ramires and Paulinho, who like to get forward more, and Luiz Gustavo, who prefers to stay back and protect the defense," he said. “I think that’s the position I’m going for if I want to be one of the 23 who makes the final cut.”