The Brazilian striker joined Spurs for £60 million last summer after leaving Everton, but he has only recently begun to show promise.
At the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium on Saturday, Richarlison’s slick finish to open the scoring on minute seven felt like a lifetime ago by the time Stuart Attwell blew for full time.
The fact that Everton had lost in London for the first time this year was forgotten by the supporters. They also expressed their annoyance at their former player scoring against them. They praised him and he praised them when Richarlison strolled over to them at full time.
The fact that he was now donning the Tottenham white was overlooked by both parties. Rather, they recalled the 53 goals he had netted throughout his four years and 152 appearances with Everton.
After a challenging first season at Spurs, Richarlison managed just three goals in 35 appearances. However, the Brazil international’s tucked finish from Brennan Johnson’s squared pass made it four goals in his last three games. He was first happy, but then he abruptly apologized by raising his hands and recalling that he had formerly played for Everton. He’s on a hot streak by anyone’s standards going into Christmas.
“It’s great on both sides,” said Spurs boss Ange Postecoglou. “It’s great for Richy to go over, and it’s great for the Everton fans to acknowledge him. I don’t think anyone would question Richy’s service for Everton Football Club. I think the fans appreciate that, and he appreciated the fans. Now he’s with us, and he’s doing his best for this football club.”
Postecoglou added: “He took his goal well, and it was pleasing that he worked hard for us.”
After playing in 10 of Tottenham’s first 11 league matches of the season, Richarlison missed a game either side of the November international break after undergoing groin surgery to deal with what he described as “unbearable pain”.
Postecoglou revealed after Saturday’s victory over Everton: “He was struggling with his fitness. He just wasn’t 100 per cent. He was soldiering on, as you do, but he just feels a bit freer now, both mentally and physically, and that helps him out. His performances since he’s got back, apart from the goals, have been really good.”
A capable finisher as his goal tallies at Fluminense and Everton, in particular, show, Richarlison has always been more of a complete forward than a conventional target-man. He is experienced in wide areas too, yet Postecoglou prefers to deploy him down the centre.
Against Everton, the 26-year-old striker showed why, opening the scoring, holding the ball up to bring others into play, and using his technical ability to jink out of the close attention of opposition players.
He is beginning to show more consistently why Spurs spent up to £60million including add-ons to bring him to north London last summer.
His next mission is to raise his level in big matches. In 11 matches against the established ‘Big Six’ clubs since joining Tottenham, he has scored just once.