Willian sets sights on Brazil team
Willian is one of a number of new faces in the Brazil squad hoping to make an impression in Thursday's friendly against Gabon and push their claims for a regular berth in Mano Menezes' side.
The Shakhtar Donetsk midfielder has been called up to the senior squad for the first time for the two international friendlies against Gabon in Libreville and Egypt in Doha on Monday, as have Alex Sandro, Bruno Cesar, Dudu and Kleber.
And with a host of senior players absent for Thursday's match, they will all be keen to make the most of any opportunity they get.
Willian, 23, said ahead of what could be his first appearance for the five-time world champions: "I don't know how to explain what I feel right now. It has been my goal since I was a child and started playing football.
"I had opportunities at the youth levels but the senior team is totally different. I worked a lot at Shakhtar to have this chance today and I hope I can grab it with both hands and settle down in the national team.''
With the likes of Ronaldinho, Neymar, Fred, Lucas Leiva and the injured Kaka all missing as Menezes takes the chance to test some players who are expected to play in the 2012 Olympics in London, Lazio playmaker Hernanes is also looking to impress.
The 26-year-old Hernanes, who is expected to start the match, has been playing
just behind the strikers in training and he told Globoesporte.com: "At Lazio, I play in that area and that is how Brazil trained. This is a great opportunity to show what I can do and my potential on the field.
``I hope I can play a great game and help the team win.''
Also absent for tomorrow's friendly are Dani Alves and Thiago Silva.
Alves was sent off in the last friendly game against Mexico while Thiago Silva
is being rested ahead of Monday's friendly against Egypt.
The injury to Kaka means the Real Madrid ace will have to wait to make his
first Brazil appearance since last summer's World Cup, but Menezes expects the
former AC Milan and Sao Paulo player to be back in national colours before too
``We feel it was the right momento for Kaka to return to the national team, but
this is football,'' Menezes said.
``His return is delayed a little bit, but it will finally happen in the near
future. He has been playing very well at Real Madrid. He is growing at the club
and improving as a player and that's important.''
Gabon captain Daniel Cousin, meanwhile, insists he does not fear facing the
Selecao, telling national TV channel RTG1: ``Brazil do not scare me, I've never
been afraid ahead of a game. Yes maybe when I started, but it was part of the
Gabon are using this friendly as warm-up to the Africa Cup of Nations, which
they will be co-hosting with Equatorial Guinea next year.