The evolution of a craque - Meet Everton, the Gremio star catching Brazil coach Tite's eye

Everton Gremio Cerro Porteno Copa Libertadores 01052018Lucas Uebel/Grêmio/Divulgação

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On Friday coach Brazil coach Tite will sit down at CBF headquarters to announce his first squad since World Cup 2018, ahead of a Brasil Global Tour double-header which will see them face USA and El Salvador next month.

Around the globe, a whole host of young Brazilians will lean in attentively, hoping to hear their names called. One keen observer will be as optimistic as anyone.

Gremio forward Everton Cebolinha has been making quite a name for himself down in Porto Alegre over the last 12 months.

The 22-year-old has become a key player in Renato Portaluppi's side and, on Sunday, he was it again, expertly controlling a rebound before calmly slotting home from close range to wrap up a 4-0 victory over Vitoria.

His fine performances have attracted a high-profile fan in Tite, who recently watched the forward in the Copa Libertadores against Argentine club Estudiantes and against Flamengo in the quarter-finals of the Copa do Brasil.

Tite, his technical coordinator Edu Gaspar and analyst Fernando Lazaro will take another look this week when Gremio travel to Rio tied 11 with Flamengo ahead of the second-leg.

"He is Gremio's best player now. When he is out through injury or suspension, the team have been much less competitive,” says local journalist Rodrigo Oliveira of Radio Gaucha.

“Everton is the player who makes the difference. If last year it was Luan, this season it has definitely been Everton; with all the quality he has, he is vital. Gremio are one team with him, and another without him.

Everton Gremio GFX 13082018

Since coming to the side halfway through last season, Everton has made quite an impact. 

"At the beginning, Renato even said that he was being used as a forward just because he had difficulties defending, so that was the best way to enjoy him, but now he has learned to score goals, too. Everton owed a lot Renato, who helped him with that, and has now made even helped him improve the defensive side of his game,” adds Oliveira.

A versatile forward, Everton’s preferred position is now working from the left, from where he likes to cut inside and go for goal. Having evolved into a more rounded player and learned a greater understanding of the game tactically, Everton is now being singled out as one of the brightest prospects in the Brasilierao.

Everton Bruno Henrique Gremio Palmeiras Brasileirao Serie A 06062018

And he has everything Tite looks for in forwards hoping to force their way into his dynamic, contemporary side. "He is very quick, very skillful and at the same time attacks vertically, which scores and creates goals,” continues Oliveira. “He has been gradually maturing and improving for some time now.” 

And now, just three years into his professional career, Everton will be hoping he can continue to grow by making the transition into the international game.

The biggest obstacle he faces is the intense competition for places, however. Brazilian football is creating more wide forwards than ever before and, with the likes of Barcelona’s Malcom and Everton’s Richarlison also trying to force their way into a Brazil squad for the first time, Everton will be right up against it.

But Everton has developed a taste for the big stage. After all, it was his goal that saw off Pachuca to secure Gremio’s Club World Final clash with Real Madrid last year and, after failing to make a single start in his side’s victorious 2017 Copa Libertadores campaign, he has hit three goals in four games in the competition this season.

With Tite reported to be keen to add some fresh faces to the group that will kick-start a new era ahead of World Cup 2022, Everton will remain cautiously hopeful that his name will be mentioned during Friday’s squad announcement. 

Brazil will meet USA at MetLife Stadium on September 7 before hosting El Salvador at FedExField on September 11.