Sigurdsson's Respect For Richarlison's 'Tough Upbringing'

Gylfi Sigurdsson says he has “nothing but respect” for how Richarlison has emerged from a difficult upbringing to become an elite Premier League and international footballer.

Sigurdsson's comments echo those of Everton manager Marco Silva, with the Portuguese declaring last week that Richarlison "has a strong mentality, he is a worker, no doubts about that".

Richarlison grew up in Vila Rubia, an underprivileged area in the city Nova Venecia in south-eastern Brazil. He has spoken about how many of childhood friends fell into a life of crime, with drugs and gangs rife in the district.

The 22-year-old even revealed how he once had a gun pointed to his head after being mistaken for someone who had stolen from a gang.

Icelander Sigurdsson believes the competitive spirit and courage Richarlison consistently shows on the pitch is borne from the strength of character he required to avoid going down such a path – instead resolutely pursuing a successful football career.

Richarlison has hit 19 goals for Everton since joining the Club from Watford in 2018 – the latest of these coming as he struck the winner in the Blues’ 2-1 victory at Southampton on Saturday.

“He comes from a different lifestyle,” Sigurdsson said.

"He’s very tough, he had a very tough upbringing, probably tougher than most people could handle, so personally I’ve got nothing but respect for him for the way he’s come through to get to where he is today.

“He gets on with it. He gets kicked a lot."

Indeed, Richarlison was the fifth-most fouled player in the Premier League last season. This term, only six players have been fouled more than the former Fluminense man in the top-flight.

Sigurdsson pointed to the Brazil international’s relentless work-ethic as a further key attribute.

This is highlighted by the fact Richarlison has made the seventh highest number of tackles (35) of any Premier League player so far this season.

“He’s been fantastic for the Club since he’s been here,” Sigurdsson said.

“He works very hard. He’s one of those players who gets kicked.

“He’s not a Brazilian who just wants the ball and doesn’t do his job, he’s very good defensively and he works very hard and he scores goals.”

Richarlison’s winner at St Mary’s saw Everton wrap up a third victory in five matches in all competitions.

Silva’s team dominated proceedings from the first whistle and finished the match having rained in 24 shots in goal – Everton’s highest total in a Premier League away match for seven years.

“It’s massive, a fantastic three points for us and makes it even sweeter that it’s away from home,” Sigurdsson added.

“I thought we were brilliant in the first half although we should have been more clinical and killed the game off. I don’t think we’re happy with where we are [in the league table].

“We need to be more clinical and make sure that we get in front and kill games off.”