Copa América: Brazil coach urges ‘patience’ with Endrick

Brazil coach Dorival Junior called for “a bit of patience” with 17-year-old striker Endrick after revealing that the new Real Madrid signing will not start their Copa América opener against Costa Rica on Monday.

Endrick scored the winner for Brazil in a 1-0 friendly victory over England at Wembley Stadium in March, netted another in a 3-3 draw against Spain at the Santiago Bernabeu Stadium and gave his team a last-minute 3-2 win over Mexico on June 8 amid preparations for the Copa América.

He was also handed the famed No. 9 jersey for the tournament, suggesting a prominent role for the nine-time winners.

“You have to have a little patience,” Dorival told reporters Sunday. “It’s something that will happen naturally. It might not take long because he is extremely skillful.

“I’m in a hurry to get him on the pitch, but you have to have a certain balance. He has excellent skills and is one of the most promising players.”

The coach announced a starting lineup that features a front three of Raphinha alongside two of Endrick’s new Real Madrid teammates, Vinícius Júnior and Rodrygo. It also includes two new faces, Real Madrid center back Éder Militão and Atletico Mineiro full back Guilherme Arana.

“The starting lineup will have Militao and Arana,” Dorival said. “In every game, if necessary, there will be one or two changes. All the players are ready. None of them are below our expectations. We are prepared for any situation.”

Dorival identified balance and consistency as the keys to success ahead of Brazil beginning its Copa América at SoFi Stadium in Inglewood, California.

Dorival, who took over in January and has only coached four games, admitted that the Brazilian squad still lacked on-field stability, which he said was natural given their short time together.

“I have to find a balance for a team that was put together only three months ago, and after a certain period of 15 or 20 days of work they have to find themselves again,” he said.

“In football you don’t skip preparation phases in training, but that’s why we try to accelerate each one of them to have a consistent and confident squad that can then use the individuality of its players to create opportunities.”

Brazil will also face Colombia and Paraguay in Group D.

Information from Reuters contributed to this report.

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