When Richarlison first joined Antonio Conte’s Tottenham Hotspur, there were concerns about how long it would take him to win regular minutes. Conte started the season with a stable front three of Harry Kane, Heung-Min Son, and Dean Kulusevski, leaving the new addition as an option off the bench. Six matches in, though, after having his first chance at the starting lineup, Richarlison has made it clear that he will do everything in his power to ensure that Conte does not drop him from the team. Richarlison, who is on the outskirts of Tite’s Brazil team ahead of the World Cup, understands the importance of consistent playing time in order to stay in the squad.
Also, solid performances allow Richarlison to remain in Conte’s Champions League squad, making his summer move from Everton worthwhile. Richarlison already has two goals and two assists in six games for Spurs after a brace against Marseille on matchday one, but that doesn’t tell the tale of his impact on the group. The squad has scored seven goals with him on the pitch and seven goals without him, but four of those goals came during the Brazilian’s suspension against Southampton.
With that match out of the way, it’s evident that Richarlison propels the attack despite playing only 257 minutes in all competitions. Richarlison’s work effort was crucial in getting a point against Chelsea when he came on. It was a similar situation against Nottingham Forest, who were fighting for an equalizer when Richarlison set up Harry Kane for a goal that put the game out of reach.
So, while there were signs in the Premier League that Richarlison was settling in nicely, the Champions League may be his big break.
Richarlison’s track record demonstrates that he thrives under duress. He assisted on four goals in Everton’s final five games of the season last year, a critical run that kept the club from relegation. This do-or-die mentality is also required for the Champions League competition. Richarlison found a way through while Spurs battled to break down Marseille’s structured defense.
His next test will be an away trip to face Sporting CP, a side that is suffering in Liga Portugal but still poses a threat to Spurs if they are not at their best. Conte is likely to keep the same lineup that played last week, giving Richarlison another chance to press his claim for a regular spot.
With Kulusevski himself being a capable attacker, this is the type of rotation that keeps the entire team in peak condition while pursuing success on all fronts. It’s why Richarlison was burned over the summer, and so far, everything is going as planned.