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Underrated no more - Allan starts on the right foot for Brazil

4:00 PM GMT+8 20/11/2018
Allan Brazil 16112018
The Napoli midfielder impressed on his debut against Uruguay on Friday and against Cameroon will be hoping to secure his long-term Selecao future

ANALYSIS - Raisa Simplicio

Determined to experiment as Brazil head into a new cycle following this year’s World Cup, the last few months have seen coach Tite move away from the consistent squad selection that became a fixture of his Selecao success over the past two years.

He began by introducing a number of young players and the post-World Cup debuts are now in double figures as he turned to more experienced newcomers.

Neto, Felipe and Pablo were handed their international bows, while the likes of Dede and Lucas Moura returned after years away from the national team.

And this month’s Brasil Global Tour has provided yet another opportunity to new blood in the arrival of Napoli midfielder Allan, who made his bow against Uruguay on Friday.

The smart-passing central midfielder who had been such a fixture of the Napoli side that captured hearts if not a Serie A title, former Vasco man Allan had long been on Tite’s radar and was singled out for praise ahead of his first call-up.

And he impressed on his cameo at the Emirates, injecting both dynamism and a calmness on the ball that helped Brazil see out the victory in London. 

"He looked natural and resourceful, like the majority of the players who appear for Brazil,” Tite said on Friday night. 

Allan offered support to both Arthur and Neymar out on the left, fulfilling a box-to-box role that perhaps Brazil have missed in recent months. Allan’s physical strength and intensity impressed the boss and also his assistant, Sylvinho.

For three seasons in Naples, first under Maurizio Sarri and now under Carlo Ancelotti, the consistency of Allan’s performances have earned praise from all over Europe, and back home in Brazil. 

Allan also offered an alternative shape as Tite essentially ditched his third central midfielder in favour of Allan moving wide right to offer the sort of flat wide midfielder of which the Selecao have very few.

And the position is something of a return for the 27-year-old, who began his professional career with Vasco da Gama in 2009 and became the cornerstone of a midfield that would claim the second division championship in 2009. However, an untimely injury knocked his career off stride and upon his return he was found operating at right-back in 2011, again playing a major role in Vasco’s Copa do Brasil title win.

A year later, Allan was off to Italy to join Udinese, for what now looks like a snip at just for what now looks like a snip at just €3 million. In 2015 he made the switch to Italy and over the last year has transcended his “underrated” tag by those closely following Serie A to be universally recognised as one of the top midfielders in the country.

Allan is well worth his place in the Brazil squad this month and can harbour very realistic hopes of making a Copa America on home soil in 2019. His fortunes, however, could well hinge on his showing on Tuesday night when Brazil face Cameroon at Stadium MK.

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