Saturday will see Manchester City striker, Gabriel Jesus, continuing a battle to win back the trust of Brazilians after being scapegoated for World Cup woes 

Manchester City forward, Gabriel Jesus, is being regarded as one of the main villains in Brazil’s World Cup journey, following a very disappointing quarter-final performance against Belgium, in a tournament where he became Brazil’s first number nine to not score a single goal in the tournament this century. But the Manchester City youngster remains a talent with the potential to turn his international career around.

Brazil boss Tite has announced his first squad following the FIFA World Cup for next month’s friendlies against the United States and El Salvador. One of the biggest surprises in the call-up was the omission of Manchester City-man Gabriel Jesus. The youngster had a tournament to forget in Russia, and what made it worse for him is that he was playing at the expense of Roberto Firmino who had just come from a phenomenal campaign with Liverpool, guiding them to the Champions League final and scoring over 30 goals across all competitions.

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The fans did not understand why Firmino did not start a single game in Russia, when they thought that the one grabbing playing time away from him, had under-performed. While it’s true that Roberto was readier and would have almost certainly done a better job, it should be taken into consideration that Gabriel played an important tactical role, and showed a lot of maturity for 21-year-old under so much pressure. Or to put it this way: if Gabriel scored the open header that he missed against Belgium, he could have turned his stance in front of the fans from zero to hero. Because goals aside, the Citizen performed well in most matches, but it is normal that supporters always prefer a striker who scores over one who doesn’t, as that’s his job, essentially. It’s weird because finishing has always been one of Jesus’ strongest assets, though this skill did let him down when it mattered most, for the Seleção.

Gabriel has begun the season well for City, having already scored from a well-placed finish on his first start, last weekend against Huddersfield Town. It’s clear that the developing attacker will recover his form and confidence in a matter of time, and sooner rather than later. Tite may have left him out of the first post-World Cup squad to send a message that no one is safe, but also quite possibly in response to the fans who had criticized the player. It’s worth mentioning that his replacement on the current roster is Fluminense striker Pedro, who is having a brilliant season and is regarded as one of the best rising talents in the Brasileirão.

There is no doubt that Gabriel Jesus will return to the Seleção, and if he develops as expected in European football, he may well be starting for Brazil yet again, come Qatar 2022. You only have to remember that he will be just 25-years-old in the next World Cup, to realize why it would be cruel to judge his whole career based solely on what happened in Russia, rather than giving him another chance to redeem himself.

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