Major Raphinha news emerges from Brazil ahead of Leeds United's return to action at Southampton

Leeds United winger Raphinha will reportedly make his full debut for Brazil in the early hours of Friday morning - a day and a half before the Whites return to Premier League action at Southampton.

Wednesday, 13th October 2021, 3:29 pm

Raphinha has made a huge impact from the Brazil bench during the last week's World Cup qualifiers against Venezuela in Caracas and Colombia in Barranquilla.

The Whites winger was brought on during the interval of Friday's clash against Venezuela and quickly bagged two assists whilst also starting the move that led to a converted penalty as Tite's side turned a 1-0 deficit into a 3-1 win.

Raphinha was also named amongst the substitutes for Sunday's contest against Colombia but was finally brought on in the 61st minute and again created chances as part of a goalless draw.

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QUICKLY IMPRESSING: Leeds United winger Raphinha, centre, pictured in action for Brazil during Sunday's goalless draw against Colombia in Barranquilla. Photo by Guillermo Legaria/Getty Images.

Brazil have since held an open training session that was covered by Globo Esporte who are reporting that Raphinha will now start Friday's home qualifier against Uruguay and replace Gabriel Barbosa in the front line.

The Uruguay clash kicks-off at 1.30am BST in Manaus on Friday morning - 37.5 hours before Leeds return to Premier League action with a trip to St Mary's to face Southampton.

Despite the quick turnaround, United had been expecting Raphinha to play a part.

The Whites winger has instantly adapted to international football, having finally been able to represent his country following earlier complications with coronavirus rules.

The Leeds star was named in his country's national squad for the first time for September's internationals but was not allowed to travel due to Covid-19 travel restrictions.

Despite not traveling to represent Brazil, Raphinha's involvement in Premier League action was then in major doubt after his home nation asked FIFA to enforce a five-day ban on eight English-based players who failed to turn up for international duty.

Brazil is currently on the UK government's red-list and playing for his country would have meant a period of extended quarantine upon his return.

Top flight clubs unanimously agreed to halt players from travelling to South America over the September break in fear of losing them for upcoming domestic games - though Aston Villa and Tottenham Hotspur both saw players represent Argentina.

The move saw Brazil, Chile, Mexico and Paraguay look to enforce Article 5 which FIFA had invoked to stop players featuring for their clubs in the immediate aftermath of the dedicated period for international games.

After several days of uncertainty, the governing bodies all relented and waived their right to the suspension.

Raphinha was then named in Brazil boss Tite's squad for the October qualifiers and received a huge boost due to a new quarantine ruling.

A bespoke quarantine exemption agreed between the Premier League, the Government and the health authorities enabled fully vaccinated players to travel back from red-list countries and then play for their clubs on their return.

The agreement was reached after assurances were given that players would be in Covid-secure 'bubbles' with their national teams and on return to their clubs.

Arrivals from red-list countries, even those who are double vaccinated, are usually required to quarantine for 10 days in a Government-approved hotel.

But the new ruling paved the way for Raphinha to excel for club and country and the Whites winger has excelled in his first two games for Brazil.

Raphinha was named on the bench for the World Cup qualifier in Venezuela in the early hours of Friday morning but was brought on during the interval with Brazil 1-0 down.

The Whites star produced a sensational debut, bagging two assists and starting the move that led to a penalty in a 3-1 win.

Tite opted to keep the Whites star amongst his substitutes for Sunday's Colombia contest and has instead named the returning Neymar, Barbosa and Gabriel Jesus as his front three.

But Raphinha replaced Barbosa on the hour mark and quickly became his side's main goal threat, laying on fine chances for both Neymar and fellow substitute Antony in a goalless draw.

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Thank you Laura Collins