Everton forward Richarlison says he has made significant progress under Marco Silva this season – and the gifted 21-year-old is backing his manager to help him fulfil his enormous potential.
Richarlison swapped Watford for Everton last summer and has scored 12 Premier League goals this term – including two in his past two starts.
He has won six caps and scored three goals for Brazil after his sparkling early-season form earned him a debut call-up back in September.
The South American reckons he joined up for his country’s latest round of fixtures a much better player than the one initially summoned six months ago.
And Richarlison insists boss Silva deserves a huge slice of credit for his improvement.
“Marco Silva is always talking to me in training, he is always giving me guidance on positioning in the area,” Richarlison told evertonfc.com.
“His coaching is essential for me. He is training me with an eye to being in the right place at the right time when balls come into the box, so I am able to score more goals.
“I feel I have been developing more and more.
“I want to show I can play at my best for a whole Premier League season. I feel really good at Everton. My teammates are helping me with my confidence on the field and that is vital.
“And being part of the Brazil national team has been really important for my morale and a positive thing for my confidence.”
Richarlison has started 26 Premier League matches for Everton. Indeed, the player has been omitted from Silva’s starting line-up on only three occasions when he has been available for selection.
He was rested at Burnley on Boxing Day – coming on to score Everton’s final goal in a 5-1 success – and more recently was used from the bench against Manchester City and Liverpool.
Richarlison returned to the starting XI following his Merseyside derby substitute’s role to strike in successive games against Newcastle United and Chelsea.
He embarked on a mammoth 26 sprints in the Goodison Park victory over Chelsea – eight more than any other player on the pitch – and covered a match-high 7.4 miles.
Moreover, in addition to his dozen league goals – which puts Richarlison joint-eighth in the top-flight scoring charts – the direct attacker has done his share of defensive work.
Richarlison has contested 40 tackles, made 34 clearances and blocked 22 shots this term.
As such, he appreciates his manager recognises when the player would benefit from a breather.
“That is definitely the case,” said Richarlison. “He talked to me [before the City and Liverpool games] and said that’s what it was.
“It is an incredibly intense season, right from the start, and he needed to protect me a bit.
“I understood that completely. My teammates also have to be given a chance.
“But I will always work really hard in the week and hope it ends with me with me playing in the team.”
On his defensive application, Richarlison added: “I think that is one of the things which first attracted attention in me from Watford – and then Everton.
“In addition to the key thing – scoring goals – I go back and defend.
“It is something I have done since I was a kid. When I played at school, I always worked hard and defended.
“In football today, you cannot focus only on attacking, you have to work for your teammates.”