Are you watching, Man Utd? Everton passes Brazil audition to prove he can fill Neymar void

Everton Peru Brasil Copa América 22062019
Alexandre Schneider/Getty
The Gremio star has admitted he would love the chance to star at Old Trafford - and gave United food for thought as he dismantled Peru on Saturday

One thing can be said about Brazil's new sensation Everton: he most certainly does not lack confidence.

“I'm a player that's always trying to get on top [of the opposition],' he said after scoring on his Copa America debut.

“Cutting in from the left with dribbles and good finishes. Clubs in Europe have this style of play too and maybe I can fit in at Manchester United and others.”

It is a bold claim, but on the evidence of Saturday's masterful performance against Peru he might just have the talent to back it up.

The 23-year-old Gremio hotshot was the subject of huge clamour to make the starting line-up after impressing off the bench in the Selecao's first two Copa America outings. He scored his side's third against Bolivia with a rasping shot off the left wing and set up Philippe Coutinho to perfection to break down Venezuela's resistance, only to see VAR overturn the goal.

That willingness to take on his marker, not to mention a frightening turn of pace and wicked shot, made his inclusion against Peru almost a matter of national interest, with fans and media alike pleading for him to start.

And he did not disappoint, scoring a trademark stunner cutting in from out wide and generally torturing the Inca defence as Brazil secured qualification for the quarter finals with ease.

Coach Tite made a statement of intent in Sao Paulo's Arena Corinthians with his most offensive line-up to date in the Copa. As well as Everton, Manchester City's Gabriel Jesus was given his first start of the competition in tandem with Roberto Firmino, as Brazil set up in a daring formation not too far removed from the cavalier 4-2-4 made famous by the likes of Pele, Garrincha and the Selecao's legends of yesteryear.

Everton Luis Advincula Brazil Peru Copa America 2019

Everton was key to that game-plan as the only natural wideman in an attack completed by Coutinho playing just off that front three. Luis Advincula, one of the Copa's stand-out performers to date, was given a torrid afternoon by the youngster and, perhaps most importantly, was forced to abandon the attacking role he occupied to such effect against Venezuela and Bolivia to keep permanent watch on the winger.

Dominant throughout, Brazil nevertheless had no shortage of fortune in going ahead. Casemiro knew little about the rebound that landed kindly on his head and bobbled past Pedro Gallese in the Peru net to open the scoring, before the goalkeeper committed a horrific mistake in blasting a clearance into the encroaching Roberto Firmino and allowing the Liverpool man to convert the second. 

At least the third goal was one to remember. Squaring up to Advincula on the left wing, Everton shook off the right-back with a swing of the hips and opened up just enough space to whip home another cracking effort to take his Copa tally to two.

The entire Brazil team was galvanised, with Dani Alves finishing off a memorable team move with the aid of Firmino and the electrifying Coutinho in the second half and substitute Willian adding his own stunner to polish off a 5-0 demolition. 

In the short term Brazil will be delighted with Everton's explosion. He is now the undisputed owner of the left side of attack, a spot previously occupied by David Neres in the opening two games. Where the Ajax man was erratic and wasteful, Everton has proved himself a worthy deputy to the injured Neymar and injected much-needed pace and unpredictability into a Brazil attack that had looked ponderous beforehand.  

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In Europe, too, no few teams will have been watching Saturday's masterclass with interest.  

As well as United, Manchester City have been linked with the Gremio promise, and Pep Guardiola will no doubt be receiving glowing reviews from Jesus and Fernandinho as this Copa progresses.  

But Old Trafford appears to be where Everton has his heart set on arriving. And if his goal against Bolivia and subsequent comments were a cry for attention from those in charge of the Red Devils purse-strings, this subsequent display should be a full-pitched scream that United would be wise to listen to as they look to strengthen their own attack this summer.