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14th Aug 2015

Philippe Coutinho loses Brazil spot to Kaka…

Simon Lloyd

One of the shining lights in an otherwise miserable season for Liverpool last year, Philippe Coutinho produced another stunning strike to secure his team an opening day victory at Stoke.

Coutinho’s importance to his club is there for all to see, but at international level he clearly hasn’t convinced his coach – Brazil legend Dunga.

The news that he has been replaced in the Brazil squad by Kaka – now 10 years older than the 23-year-old Liverpool playmaker – will come as a surprise to those who regularly watch him play for the Reds.

Rather ironically, one of Coutinho’s most recent plaudits was Kaka himself. Speaking to Talksport, the former AC Milan and Real Madrid schemer said: “Philippe Coutinho is a very good player… At Liverpool his game is more consistent.”

With Neymar, Brazil’s golden boy, occupying Coutinho’s preferred role, it has been difficult for the Liverpool star to secure a regular starting spot.

After disappointing in Neymar’s absence at this summer’s Copa America, perhaps Dunga had enough reason to drop him. When asked about it recently, he appeared to suggest as much, adding that Kaka’s inclusion was down to a need for “experience”.

But aside from Coutinho’s omission – what does the inclusion of Kaka, now with Orlando City, say about changing attitudes towards MLS?

The American league is still accused of being a graveyard for players in the twilight of their careers, but does Kaka’s selection signal an end to anti-MLS snobbery? Maybe.

The 33-year-old has a chance to impress against Costa Rica and USA in Brazil’s upcoming friendlies, and will be eager to ensure his inclusion is more than simply a farewell to the gold and green.

For Coutinho, the wait to prove his worth to Dunga continues. As Kaka can attest following his time in the international wilderness, there isn’t much room for patience in Brazil.