Bernard Explains Why Ruthless Richarlison Is Just Getting Started

Bernard expects “fearless and aggressive” countryman Richarlison to maintain his rapid progress – and the diminutive winger wants to create a succession of “joyful moments” in the remainder of Everton's 2019/20 season.

Everton return to action against Liverpool on Sunday following more than three months without a game and will cram nine matches into five weeks to complete the delayed Premier League campaign.

Brazilian duo Bernard and Richarlison are set for influential roles, with forward Richarlison aiming to add to his 10 top-flight goals this season.

The 23-year-old’s career has rocketed since he came to Everton in summer 2018.

He was Everton’s young player of the season last term after finishing joint-top scorer with 14 goals and has won 19 Brazil caps following a senior international debut six weeks after transferring to Goodison.

Richarlison is flourishing as a central striker under Carlo Ancelotti after converting from the wide positions where he originally became a hit with the Club.

“Richi is capable of adapting to any scenario during a match,” Bernard told evertontv.

“He's the type of player who's really aggressive in the box.

“He's fearless and not scared of putting himself about or taking a whack.

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05:25

BERNARD ON PROGRESS OF 'FEARLESS' RICHARLISON

Brazilian lauds compatriot and looks ahead to Merseyside derby.


“Whatever is happening, the important thing for him is putting the ball in the back of the net.

“This makes him who he is, a player with a massive presence in the box.

“He is still developing. When you look at him he's still so young to be doing what he is in the Premier League.

“I am certain he will mature and become an even better player, not just in the way he plays but also in the way he understands and reads the game.”

Bernard won the most recent of his 14 Brazil caps in July 2014 when he was with Shakhtar Donetsk in Ukraine.

He harbours ambitions to link up with Clubmate Richarlison at international level, with Brazil poised for the defence of their Copa America title – won last year when Richarlison scored in the final – next summer and the 2022 World Cup on the horizon.

Bernard’s lone focus right now, however, is on Everton and a rush of fixtures full of possibilities, with only six points separating manager Ancelotti’s side from a European qualification position.


Everton are confronted with the intriguing prospect of a behind-closed-doors Goodison Merseyside derby this weekend to relaunch their season – a far cry from last term’s home game against Liverpool when the volume was switched to maximum for a 0-0 draw.

“It is good we can play at Goodison [rather than a neutral venue] but I'd be even more pleased if we were able to have our fans there," said Bernard. "It's important for them to stay safe at home, though.

“We have a great atmosphere at every game, it's fantastic at Goodison Park.

“The derby last season was a special game, there was an incredible atmosphere.

“We played very well but unfortunately didn't get the win.

“It’s a delicate situation coming back after the pandemic and two months out [of training] and going into a difficult fixture. But the game being a derby is an additional motivator for me and, I believe, all the players.

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03:47

BERNARD VISITS EITC MENTAL HEALTH FOOTBALL TOURNAMENT

Blues forward is special guest as he meets Imagine Your Goals participants.


“We need to look after ourselves, be dedicated and as prepared as possible for a tough, intense game. It will also be a happy occasion because of this opportunity to play again at Goodison Park.

“My objective for Everton's restart is to come back well and give my all, so we can get the wins and share joyful moments together.

“I think to play for the national team in any country you have to be doing well for your club, so for me to think about the Brazilian Seleção, I have to think about Everton.”

Bernard’s teammate, defender Michael Keane, suggested playing in empty stadiums would represent a “throwback to youth-team football”.

South American Bernard, though, can draw on his experience with Shakhtar, where he played a number of games in front of tiny audiences after the club was forced by the conflict in Donbass to relocate more than 600 miles west to Lviv in 2014.


It was not uncommon for fewer than 3,000 to attend games in Shakhtar’s temporary 35,000-capacity home.

And 27-year-old Bernard had a refresher on playing in front of rows of empty seats when Everton staged an in-house practice match at Goodison last week.

“It's difficult playing in an empty stadium as we're used to having a full crowd,” continued Bernard, who has started 13 league games and scored three goals this season.

“Particularly in England, you look at the games in the second and third divisions and the stadiums are all full.

“The intra-squad game was good to up the intensity – we were training hard but not with 45 or even 30-minute non-stop halves.

“It was important for us to have those feelings you experience during a match.

“Even when you're in a full stadium, at times you forget the crowd and concentrate on tactics and your role in the game, so I don't think what happened with Shakhtar will give me any advantage.

“I experienced games like this on numerous occasions and it is strange.

“But it’s been a long time and it will be hard after playing at a full Goodison Park every game to get used to it being completely empty.

“I don't think my experience [in Ukraine] will affect me either positively or negatively, your performance in this type of game depends a lot on your concentration levels.”