In Focus: Richarlison has a shot at making Spurs move work
Richarlison is in the midst of the chaos that is currently swirling around Tottenham.
After Spurs were dumped out of the Champions League in midweek by AC Milan, the Brazilian broke ranks and voiced his frustration about his situation at the club.
The elimination from Europe came shortly after an embarrassing FA Cup defeat to Championship outfit Sheffield United, with a 1-0 Premier League loss at Wolves sandwiched in between.
We take a look at Richarlison’s future as Spurs prepare to host Nottingham Forest.
After a 0-0 draw with Milan saw Spurs exit the Champions League at the last-16 stage, Richarlison vented his frustrations regarding his personal issues and wider problems.
The 25-year-old forward said: "I should have played. I was playing well, we won against Chelsea and West Ham and suddenly I was on the bench.
"I played five minutes against Wolves, asked the reason and no one told me why. Yesterday, they asked me to take a fitness test in the gym and told me I was going to start today if I passed it.
"And today I was on the bench. There are things I can't understand. There was no explanation again, let's see what he [Antonio Conte] will tell us tomorrow.
"There hasn't been enough minutes given to me. I don't have enough minutes, was injured for a bit, but when I'm on the pitch I give my life.
"I played well in two games, especially against Chelsea, so I think I should have played tonight, but I can't go on crying about it now."
Conte is now under real pressure to keep his job and could well be sacked if his side fail to beat Forest. At the pre-match press conference, he was quizzed on Richarlison’s comments.
The Italian, 53, said: "His season has not been good. He had injuries, played and scored in the Champions League and then went to the World Cup and then had a serious injury.
"He’s scored no goals for us. I think he was really honest to say his season was not good. His season has not finished yet. If he deserves to play I’ll give him the opportunity.
"For the rest of the interview, I think he made a mistake. When you speak of I and not us, you are being selfish. I say to my players if we want to build something important and win a trophy, we have to speak with we not with I."
While Conte’s comments suggest that Richarlison will not be frozen out, it will be interesting to see if his words match his actions.
Richarlison has only scored two goals in 25 games for Tottenham since making a £60million move from Everton. Both came in the 2-0 Champions League win over Marseille.
He has failed to net in 17 Premier League appearances but has only started seven of them, with Spurs winning six of those matches. The sole defeat came away at Arsenal.
Richarlison's odds of acclimatising quickly to his new home have not been helped by him not being given a regular position. He has played as a centre forward for the North Londoners, as well as on both flanks.
The majority of his appearances have come on the right wing, which is his least effective position. In his final season with the Toffees, he mainly played as a striker.
It was in that role that he was deployed by Brazil at the World Cup and he thrived.
Unfortunately for Richarlison, he has Harry Kane blocking his route to playing regularly as a striker for Tottenham. He of course knew that would be the case when he made the move.
The South American is perhaps entitled to have expected to see more minutes in his other favoured position, on the left of the attack. Heung-Min Son has struggled for form and is set for his worst goal return since 2015-16.
The fact that players of such quality are finding goals harder to come by than usual suggests that there is a massive tactical problem under Conte.
He is wedded to his 3-4-3 formation, even when it is clearly not working. One way or another, the manager’s reign looks set to end shortly which could present a second chance for Richarlison to impress.
There is also the prospect that Kane will leave, resulting in a vacancy for the ex-Watford attacker to fill. That said, his performance in that role in the 1-0 FA Cup defeat at Bramall Lane hardly inspired confidence.
It is up to Richarlison to take any chances that come to him. His claim of being treated unfairly at times is legitimate but he has also not played well enough to be guaranteed a starting place.
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