If anyone in world football is worth £200million then it is Paris Saint-Germain and Brazil superstar Neymar.
That is the opinion of England boss Gareth Southgate, whose Three Lions side must find a way to nullify the threat of the flamboyant forward in Tuesday’s friendly at Wembley.
Brazil swashbuckled their way to World Cup qualification in Russia next year, finishing top of the CONMEBOL section with 41 points – 10 clear of nearest rivals Uruguay.
Neymar was typically influential for Tite’s men, scoring six and assisting eight in qualifying, and Southgate is keen for England to test themselves against a player that PSG forked out a world-record sum for to sign from Barca.
“He is one of the best players in the world. We have to be set up right because counter-attack is one of their best tactics and then individually you have to defend well against him,” he told a pre-match news conference.
“Is he worth £200m? If there was to be someone worth that – it’d be him.”
On the challenge of facing Brazil, he added: “This team are well down the road in knowing their best team, they have some outstanding individuals and an immense physical presence.
“They’ve annihilated everyone in the South American qualification which is the hardest way to the finals so it will be a big test.”
— England (@England) November 13, 2017
England finished top of their own group in the European section, and Southgate says he could name a squad as soon as tomorrow for football’s showpiece tournament.
“I have a list and if I had to pick the squad tomorrow I know who it would be but that can change in six months because of form and players emerging,” added Southgate, who confirmed Eric Dier will once again be captain.
“I’m open minded. We watch the players very closely with their clubs and have succession plans to who is second, third and fourth choice. That’s constantly updated.
“There is an element of form that plays a part because you want them going into games at their very best.”
Crystal Palace’s on-loan Chelsea midfielder Ruben Loftus-Cheek was England’s standout performer in Friday’s goalless draw against Germany, and Southgate turned to youth once again by adding Dominic Solanke, Lewis Cook and Angus Gunn to the senior side from the Under-21s.
And Southgate believes that England’s young players should take note of the fact that opportunities are available in his squad.
“The message is we have a lot of young players to pick from,” he said.
“It’s slightly different this time in we didn’t see much value in bringing a couple of senior players in but there’s clearly a pathway.”
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