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The omission of Arsenal striker Gabriel Jesus from the Brazil national team is “mystifying”, according to South American football expert Tim Vickery.
The striker joined the Gunners from Manchester City in the summer hoping to revive his career after a mixed few years at the Etihad Stadium.
To say he did that is an understatement, with Jesus registering four goals and three assists in eight appearances for the north London side.
Surprisingly, Jesus was left out of Brazil coach Tite’s squad for the friendlies with Ghana and Tunisia, casting doubt on his position in their 26-man World Cup squad.
While Vickery couldn’t hide his surprise at the decision, the South American football pundit believes he should still be on the plane to Qatar this winter, unlike his Arsenal teammates Gabriel Magalhaes and Gabriel Martinelli.
Speaking on Hawksbee and Jacobs, Vickery explained: “It’s weird because he’s always been on the team. He was kicked out of the first team after the World Cup, which was like a scapegoat.
“The coach really regrets staying with him as a centre-forward during the World Cup because it really didn’t work out and it’s been a trauma for him ever since. That’s why he hasn’t played as number nine for a long, long time until his rebirth – the second coming of Jesus this season.
“What’s weird is that he was in the Brazil team the whole time he was struggling. He played 19 games for them without scoring and was in the team. Now he steals and they let go.
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“I suspect he will be fine for the World Cup. I suspect he will be in it.
“One of the things the coach wants to look at is that there are a few number nine options he wants to look at.
“There’s a local hero, a guy called Pedro who plays for Flamengo, there’s Matheus Cunha who was very important when they won the Olympics last year and I suspect the coach is watching those two there and Gabriel Jesus will be back.
“It’s unbelievable to me that in a squad of 26 for the World Cup he doesn’t come in, so I think he’ll be fine, unless the coach assumes that if your name is Gabriel and you play for Arsenal, then you can’t get in because he dropped all three of them at the same time!
“You have Martinelli, Magalhaes and Jesus. Martinelli will likely be squeezed out because they have so many options in the wide striker positions.
“Gabriel Magalhaes mystified me because I was convinced he would make his Brazil debut in those two friendlies, but he brought another pair of centre-backs he wants to see, and Gabriel Jesus is really mystifying, but as I say, I suspect he will be fine for the World Cup.
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