Endrick to replace Vini Jr. in Brazil’s lineup for Uruguay Copa clash

Brazil‘s teenage prodigy Endrick will replace Vinícius Júnior, who is suspended for accumulating yellow cards, for Saturday’s Copa América quarterfinal against Uruguay at Allegiant Stadium in Las Vegas, Nevada.

Coach Dorival Junior opted for 17-year-old Endrick, also known as “Messinho,” to take the striker’s place and make his first start for the Brazilian squad.

“We’ve lost an important player, but we’ve gained a player who’s coming into his own and is looking for an opportunity. Maybe this is Endrick’s moment,” Dorival told a press conference on Friday.

“I don’t think Endrick is specifically a nine who plays fixed, he prefers a pivot. He’s a player who floats, who moves around. The team is constantly evolving. That’s why I said not to rush into anything with him. It’s just a matter of time before we find the best formation,” he added.

The 62-year-old boss, who took over in January and has now coached seven matches, has guided the squad into the last eight as Group D runners-up to Colombia with five points from three games.

“In total we’ve been together for 37 days, about 20 official training sessions, with everyone together, the whole squad. We’ve made a lot of progress and there are still a few things to iron out, but that’s part of the process.

“There will always be criticism, no matter where you are in the table. The important thing is to find a healthy path for the team.”

The coach added he did not want the Uruguay game to be seen as a defining moment, but acknowledged it was a great South American classic.

“It will be an important game for Brazil and for Uruguay too. It is a team that deserves all of our respect and I have no doubt that they will have problems against our team. These are teams that know and respect each other and we will have everything to play a great match,” Dorival said.