He’s only played 120 minutes of Premier League football, but already Richarlison is on his way to becoming a fan favourite at Vicarage Road.
His dazzling performance against Bournemouth on Saturday culminated in his first goal for the club; with a compilation of his skills and tricks doing the rounds on Twitter, which will make Cherries right-back Adam Smith scared to check his phone.
Born in Nova Venecia, in the densely populated state of Espirito Santo in eastern Brazil, Richarlison’s South American upbringing was prevalent as he scooped the ball over Smith’s head before nut-megging him; then preceding to pirouette away from the former Torquay loanee with such ease that fans would have been wondering how he isn’t still playing at that level.
Smith is of course a well-established player in a Bournemouth side which finished ninth in the Premier League last season, but Richarlison was simply too good for him, possessing all of the qualities which fans crave in a winger.
5ft 11in tall but built well enough to withstand a battle in the world’s toughest division, Richarlison glides effortlessly across the pitch with clear directness in his play. Far too often wingers are obsessed with beating a man, but the 20-year-old Brazilian showed he was equally adept at playing a quick pass inside or a one-two.
After his shot struck Miguel Britos to give Watford a dramatic last minute equaliser against Liverpool last weekend, he claimed his first goal as he put the Hornets a goal up at the Vitality Stadium on Saturday.
From a quick Watford counter attack new £18.5m signing Andre Gray squared the ball for Richarlison, whose first effort was blocked by Smith but luck was on his side as he was able to prod home into an empty net.
After the game manager Marco Silva was quick to dampen expectations after his new winger’s brilliant performance. He said: “We need to be calm with him, he’s only 20 and it’s his first minutes in England. He doesn’t speak a word of English and we need to give him time.”
Linked with Chelsea and AC Milan over the summer, Silva, Britos and goalkeeper Heurelho Gomes were influential in being able to convince him to join as they also speak his native Portuguese.
Although Silva is right to dampen expectations, there’s no doubt he will be delighted with how Richarlison has started for the Golden Boys.
Written by Oliver Stevenson.