Internationals: Sarr On Brazil Clash
Ismaïla Sarr said he has no fear going into a glamour international friendly with Brazil on Thursday.
The 21-year-old forward was named in a 23-man squad by coach Alio Cissé in what will be the Lions of Teranga's first game since the heartbreaking African Cup of Nations final defeat to Algeria in July.
Sarr, who is joined in the squad by Sadio Mané, Napoli defender Kalidou Koulibaly and Idrissa Gueye, is bidding to make his 18th start (his 24th appearance in total) for his country and is relishing the chance to go up against Neymar, Philippe Coutinho, Gabriel Jesus and Roberto Firmino at the Singapore National Stadium.
“No, [I'm not worried]. Why should I be?” he said. “We have a great team, too. We are strong, too. We have great players. We have Mané and we have Cheikhou Kouyaté. I'm not going to predict the score of the game. I don't like to.”
Sarr has only made one Premier League start for the Hornets since his club-record move from Rennes, but Abdoulaye Doucouré, who knows a thing or two about moving from France to Watford in your early twenties, has seen enough to know the 21-year-old will be a hit in the Premier League.
“He can be very successful here,” the French midfielder told Sky Sports. “He needs more time to adapt in the Premier League, in the country and everything. But he is so happy to be here, now he’s more settled, and we will see the best of Ismaïla soon.
“He doesn’t speak English, so it is very hard for him. He came in a bad moment for us when we don’t win one game [in the league]. So for him it’s very hard but I think he has the quality to adapt in the Premier League and we are here to help him.”
Quique Sánchez Flores gave Sarr his full debut against Wolves and has brought him on as a substitute in the other three games he has overseen since returning to the club as Head Coach.
“We need to protect this player, we need to care about him,” said Sánchez Flores. “He is really young, it is really different the characteristics of this player, it is very different to the Premier League characteristics.
“Here they want to take the player, the defenders, to have contact. He wants space, so it’s completely different but he is a very good player. He understands very well, even though he doesn’t speak English, but he has Capoue like a dad in the training ground.
“He understands everything, he is potentially a starter because he has a lot of skills, physically he is very good. So we need to care about him. When he does play it is because we want these characteristics, even if he is really young, but when he doesn’t play, we need to say, ‘You don’t play, but you are still good’.”
Click here to see who else is in action for their country this international break.