Roberto Firmino has claimed he will respect his manager’s decision at the World Cup this summer, even if it means watching on as Gabriel Jesus is included in the starting lineup.
The Liverpool ace found himself in unfamiliar territory at Anfield on Sunday, starting out from the substitute bench as Brazil took part in their penultimate World Cup warm-up clash against Croatia on Merseyside.
The 26-year-old was forced to spectate as fellow Premier League star Jesus led Selecao out as captain for the first time in his career – something coach Tite has opted to be a rotational duty to allow each player to feel valued within his squad.
And despite being introduced on the hour mark to then net his side’s second of the afternoon during their 2-0 win, the Reds favourite insisted to SporTV as quoted by Goal he will remain content with any role he is given.
“I’m here to help Selecao,” he said. “Whoever Tite chooses, I’ll respect it 100 per cent, and I’m here when needed, to give my best for the team.”
However, despite a situation which had potential to cause fractures within the squad, considering the 21-year-old Citizen was the youngest player in the side as well as Firmino enjoyed a scintillating domestic campaign, the Manchester City man claimed to AP post-match the competition for places is a positive thing.
“This question of Firmino is good for me, for Brazil. Not only (to create competition) for the striker position, but all of them. He wants to play, and that makes me want to improve too,” he said.
“Since I started as a professional at Palmeiras, I always had to fight for my position. It was like that in 2015, when I became professional.
“Palmeiras had signed more than 15 players, and I was scared. But then I took the challenge. That was good for me because I made the extra effort.”