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Benitez decision likely to impact Everton as star man goes East

Everton have given forward Richarlison permission to play for Brazil at this summer’s Olympics after he was called into the squad for the Tokyo Games.

The 24-year-old is a regular with the Brazil national side, racking up 30 caps after making his debut in 2018. He is currently with Tite’s side playing in the Copa America and scored his 10th goal for the Selecao against Peru. However, the Olympics is not a FIFA-organised event and clubs are not obligated to release their players.

But it seems as though new Toffees chief Rafa Benitez has no problem allowing the South American to participate at the summer showpiece. It does mean that the Brazilian will probably miss the start of the Premier League campaign.

The Games conclude on August 8, with Everton hosting Southampton in the opener on August 14. The one positive is that Richarlison should be match fit after his exploits in the Far East.

But he will need some rest and probably sit out Everton’s August fixtures. The Goodison Park outfit face games against Leeds and Brighton following the Saints encounter.

And Richarlison’s absence is not the only headache for the Spanish tactician. Pre-season began on Monday, with a low-key session at the club’s Finch Farm training complex.

Jordan Pickford and Dominic Calvert-Lewin were absent as they are still on England duty at Euro 2020. The pair are preparing for the Three Lions’ semi-final with Denmark at Wembley on Wednesday night.

Should they beat the Danes then the whole nation will be watching Sunday’s final against either Spain or Italy. Like their team-mate, the duo will need some time off after the tournament and might not return until the end of the month.

Richarlison absent as Benitez eases into new job

Colombia defender Yerry Mina is also missing as he faces a Copa America semi-final against Argentina in midweek. But many players did report for duty on Monday after their summer break.

Benitez did attend the session but chose not to speak to the group of players. The former Liverpool chief kept his distance, having already spoken to several senior players by phone.

Those who did make it underwent the usual fitness and medical checks. They did not train outside and most of the work took place inside the gym.

Everton will hope to improve on a tenth-place finish while Richarlison will look to better his 2020-21 return of seven league goals.

READ MORE: Everton tracking striker whose value has risen to €40m after iconic Euros



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