Brazil's Philippe Coutinho celebrates after scoring against Panama during a U-20 World Cup group E soccer match in Barranquilla, Colombia, Thursday, Aug. 4, 2011. (AP Photo/Fernando Llano)

Philippe Coutinho to captain Brazil national team this summer

Philippe Coutinho has played an increasingly important role for Brazil under Tite, with the captaincy the next big step for the Liverpool No. 10.

A storming end to the season for the Reds’ playmaker saw his productivity in the final third increase at just the right time, as Coutinho scored seven and assisted two in the final nine games of the campaign.

That goal rush helped the side secure a top-four finish and UEFA Champions League football next season—if the qualifier is navigated—and the increased responsibility he took on is set to be mirrored on the international stage.

Brazil boss Tite has indicated that Coutinho will be handed the captain’s armband in one of the two matches the national team play in Melbourne, where the Selecao will face Argentina and Australia.

Usually a right-sided forward in Tite’s lineup, with Neymar operating from the left-forward role that Coutinho played in for most of the season at Liverpool, reports in the Mirror indicate a change is in the offing.

LONDON, ENGLAND - Saturday, October 29, 2016: Liverpool's Philippe Coutinho Correia in action against Crystal Palace during the FA Premier League match at Selhurst Park. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

Indeed, the late-season switch employed by Jurgen Klopp at club level—pushing Coutinho back into midfield—is set to be replicated by his international boss.

Neymar, the usual captain, is absent for the trip to Australia—as is Coutinho’s Reds’ team-mate Roberto Firmino—leaving Coutinho to step forward and shoulder more responsibility, proving further his class and ability to lead a team.

Thus far, Coutinho has seven goals in 26 caps at full international level, with three of those strikes coming in his last six appearances for Brazil.

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