Football

Coutinho set to return from injury against England

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Philippe Coutinho warned that an injury-decimated England side could be more motivated when they take on five-time world champions Brazil at Wembley tomorrow morning (Singapore time).

The Liverpool midfielder has declared himself "100 per cent fit" after missing Brazil's 3-1 win over Japan last Friday, but England have had worse luck after losing Harry Kane, Dele Alli, Phil Jones, Harry Winks, Jordan Henderson, Raheem Sterling and Fabian Delph to injuries.

In their absence, youngsters such as Ruben Loftus-Cheek, Angus Gunn, Lewis Cook, Tammy Abraham and Dominic Solanke have received call-ups.

Coutinho, who had missed Liverpool's last three games due to a thigh injury, said: "They haven't been picked because they're young, they deserve their places.

"They will be really motivated. They will give their best. They have some great players.

"It's a great challenge to play against England and this game is great preparation for the World Cup."

Manchester City attacker Gabriel Jesus agreed, telling Sky Sports: "It's always a real pleasure to play at Wembley.

"I'm expecting it to be really beautiful. It will be incredible to play there."

Since Tite replaced Dunga as Brazil coach in June last year, the Selecao have won 13 out of 16 international matches, scoring 38 goals and conceding just five.

Explaining how Tite has turned things around for Brazil, Roberto Firmino told The Independent: "Professor Tite has played a big role in the Selecao's ascent.

"He's a brilliant coach, with a unique way of working, but he's also a marvellous person. He makes everyone feel at ease.

"It's because of his manner that the team spirit is as good as it could possibly be."

The Liverpool forward was less forthright when asked if Brazil are favourites to win next year's World Cup, saying: "The word 'favourite' is very strong. A lot of responsibility comes with that (status)."

Former Selecao No. 1 goalkeeper Julio Cesar, however, was more up front, telling ESPN FC: "I think Brazil have a very good chance of winning the World Cup.

"We have a coach who is doing a great job since he joined. We're one of the favourites." - WIRE SERVICES

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