Brazil have hailed Gabriel Jesus as their “new Ronaldo” as they prepare for Tuesday’s friendly with England.
The visitors to Wembley are among the favourites for next summer’s World Cup in Russia, owing largely to the potent combination of Jesus and Neymar in the final third.
Since Tite’s appointment as manager in June 2016 Brazil have considerably improved, as was most recently seen in Friday’s 3-1 friendly defeat of Japan, when Jesus scored the third of their goals.
Their last World Cup victory was inspired by Ronaldo in 2002 but Jesus’ continued emergence for Manchester City and his country has increased optimism surrounding their chances, and their captain Dani Alves said: “I wasn’t joking when I called him the new Ronaldo.
“He’s already great and will get even better. For all that he’s done, all that he’s achieved, there’s no pressure. He’s doing what he loves.”
England have similar confidence in the abilities of Harry Kane, and Tite said: “City should be very pleased with Palmeiras and the coaches there who formed a player (Jesus) who is already at such a good level.
“To the point he came here with a natural fluency. I already mentioned the mental capacity he has and his technical ability. He didn’t need much time to adapt, he was already showing a very good level.
“The characteristics of Gabriel Jesus and Kane are a bit different. Gabriel attacks the space, gives us that depth; Kane is more positional. They’re two strong strikers.
“Kane is a penalty box player with an impressive finishing ability. He’s good in the air, good with his right foot and left. It’s very impressive, he has a lot of quality.”
Brazil coach rates England’s chances
Friday’s performance in the 0-0 draw at home to Germany, in which Gareth Southgate selected a new-look, youthful team, has also ensured confidence has begun to grow around England.
They have also this year won World Cups at Under-20 and Under-17 level, and a European Championship at Under-19, and Tite said: “All the big teams, like England, have this new generation coming through.
“Even though Southgate has only had 13 games (as manager) so far, with Dele Alli, Kane, and the experience of (Gary) Cahill, that tradition counts, so I see England as one of the favourites (for the World Cup). I’m not just saying that because I’m here at Wembley, speaking in front of English people.
“Compared to Japan, the technical demands of (Tuesday’s) game are going to be higher.
“Historically, England’s is a mix between technical football, on the floor, but also physical contact, quality, short passing, triangulation. In the Premier League there are so many foreign coaches and different players; it’s a very strong league with different styles.”
Brazil again expect to have Philippe Coutinho available at Wembley after he missed Friday’s defeat of Japan because of the groin injury that had recently ruled him out at Liverpool. He is in line to replace Chelsea’s Willian alongside Neymar and Jesus.