Why Luiz Felipe Scolari Should Call Up Liverpool's Philippe Coutinho
With calls in Brazil mounting for the inclusion of Liverpool's Philippe Coutinho, Selecao boss Luiz Felipe Scolari should be considering a call-up for the young attacking midfielder ahead of the 2014 World Cup.
Three years after picking up his first cap for the national team in a friendly against Iran under Mano Menezes, Coutinho is putting forward a compelling case to resurrect his career with the Selecao.
Completing a move to Inter, aged 18, Coutinho was poised to take Serie A by storm and emerge as one of the Selecao's brightest lights.
But instead, his career stalled under a succession of managers and injury woes.
Liverpool came calling in January 2013, and a £8.5 million move for the Brazilian was agreed on, allowing Coutinho a chance to revive his stuttering career.
The 21-year-old's form since his arrival in Merseyside has been nothing short of sensational.
Three goals and eight assists for Brendan Rodgers' side in 17 appearances have seen the Brazilian become one of the first names on the Reds team-sheet, dazzling fans and neutrals alike with his sublime skill and eye for a pass.
Such form for his club will have made the national coaches stand up and take note.
But Coutinho will have a tough task ahead of him, as he would be competing with the likes of Oscar, Lucas Moura and Bernard for a place in the team.
No mean feat for a player who is just starting to find his feet once again at club level.
Perhaps Brazil 2014 will come too early for the Liverpool youngster, but that should not stop a potential call-up to the Selecao in the near future.
Coutinho is already eager to prove himself worthy of the famed canary-yellow shirt, as he told Liverpool's official website:
Of course, it's the dream of every player to represent their country and it's not different for me.
I have this dream, this aim, but I try to think only about Liverpool and having a good season, learning and evolving in my career.
Then if I get an opportunity [with Brazil], I'll make the most of it.
Scolari will keep an eye on players for the future while he makes plans to secure a sixth World Cup victory on home soil.
Coutinho is already demonstrating talents that set him apart from his peers, and his potential as a playmaker is arguably unparalleled amongst the current Selecao squad. The Liverpool star's ability to spot a pass is a valuable weapon to possess, and one that Scolari would happily have, even if only as a squad option.
Even if Coutinho were to miss out on a place in the squad for Brazil 2014, it would still be worth calling up the Reds star, as integrating the youngster into the squad now will reap benefits for years to come.
It is in the interests of both club and country to see Coutinho join up with the Selecao and learn from some of the best attackers in the game.
The experience will only help the Reds attacker fulfil his potential to become one of the best No. 10s in the game.
Coutinho's integration into the Selecao should start now, with a view to becoming part of their 2015 Copa America campaign.
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