Brazil manager Tite has claimed that he ‘hasn’t forgotten’ about Roberto Firmino as he prepares to name his World Cup squad.
The Liverpool forward was overlooked once more for the end-of-season friendlies this month. But as quoted by globo.com, Tite insisted the door is still open for Firmino.
“We haven’t forgotten Arthur, no, we haven’t forgotten Renan Lodi, no, we don’t forget Gerson, no. You have five months until the World Cup,” he said.
“We didn’t forget Firmino, Douglas Luiz, we didn’t forget Emerson, Rodrigo Caio, Lucas Veríssimo. We have to be connected to these 45, 50 players.”
Firmino hasn’t been picked since being included in the Copa America squad last July.
A difficult year for Bobby
It has been a difficult year or so for Firmino. Having been in and out of the Liverpool squad due to injury, he has also lost his place in the national team.
Tite’s words offer encouragement though. If the 30-year-old is able to stay fit throughout pre-season and the beginning of the campaign, he stands a chance of going to the World Cup.
Prior to this season, Firmino had been a stalwart of Tite’s squads. 44 of Bobby’s 55 caps have come while the current boss has been in charge.
The original and still the best
There has been a lot of the furore over Mohamed Salah and now Sadio Mane’s Liverpool futures. But although his contract ends at the same time as his attacking colleagues, there is considerably less chatter over Firmino.
Liverpool’s number 9 recently stated that he was ‘happy’ to stay at Anfield. This suggested that he is hopeful over an extension being done.
Many would have thought that due to his playing time dropping off, Bobby would be the least likely of the trio to get a new deal.
But with Salah proving difficult and Mane seemingly on his way out, perhaps it will be Fimino who stays after all.
It would be fitting if he was able to outstay both his more celebrated teammates. Firmino will head into his eighth year at Liverpool next season. He has only ever seemed happy and settled at Anfield and has quietly gone about being brilliant.
If he can shake off his injuries and get back to his best, it’ll be an easy decision to extend his stay into a decade and more. Don’t write Bobby off just yet, there’s magic in his boots.