Coming off a difficult international break with Brazil, where he was seen leaving the pitch in tears following another poor performance, Richarlison opened up to the world regarding his mental health.
Spurs’ No.9 came out publicly saying that he intended to seek psychiatric help upon returning to Tottenham to strengthen his mind and boost his confidence amidst a torrid run of form to begin the year.
And yet, just one game removed from what could arguably be the lowest point of his season, Richarlison came off the bench and delivered one of the most clutch and emphatic substitute appearances of any Spurs player to date.
Trailing 1-0 to a stonewall Sheffield United squad entering the 80th minute, fan optimism began to fade as shivers of the “Spursy” moniker crept up the spines of everyone in attendance and those watching from home. Ange Postecoglou needed a spark to reignite this fixture. And for that spark, the Australian turned to his No. 9.
From a fan’s perspective, it’s difficult to find reasons why Postecoglou would sub for his captain, and arguably the club’s best player, Hueng-min Son, replacing him with an out-of-form and low-on-confidence Richarlison.
But, as fans have witnessed first-hand this season, there is always a method to the Ange. Every decision is calculated. As for Richarlison, his job was simple: get Tottenham a goal by any means necessary, and he did just that and more.
The cascades of boos reigned down from the Sheffield United away end as the fourth official signalled an additional 12 minutes of stoppage time. However, Sheffield United has no one to blame but themselves for the stoppage time addition, as the Blades were guilty of blatant time-wasting for most of the match.
Either way, Tottenham had 12 minutes to find an equalizer.
In the 90 +8th minute of added time, Tottenham were awarded a corner in front of the South Stand. As 17,000 supporters behind the goal grew tense with anxiety, Ivan Perisic swung a ball in from the left side, and Richarlison turned it in. The Brazilian found space in the six-yard box and sent a glancing header past Sheffield United’s Forderinham.
Yet, in less than typical Richarlison fashion, the Brazilian dropped his head and jogged back to midfield, seemingly aware of the bigger picture, knowing there is still time to find a winner. As it turned out, the Brazilian was correct.
At 90 +10 minutes, the roof was blown off Tottenham Hotspur Stadium. Richarlison received the ball on the edge of the 18-yard box before driving forward. The Brazilian split two defenders with a pass to winger Dejan Kulusevski before the Swede rifled a shot past Foderingham from the center of the box.
Richarlison, after not scoring for nine consecutive Premier League matches, came up with a goal and an assist to keep Tottenham Hotspur’s undefeated start to the Premier League going.
After a week where all of Richarlison’s vulnerability was on full display, the Brazilian took center stage in front of the South Stand. As the players saluted the fans, Son brought Richarlison to the forefront, as the Brazilian was applauded by both fans and players alike, a strong scene of support and togetherness.
The former Everton and Watford talisman was always going to find it difficult to mesh into the fold at Tottenham, having gone from the understudy to Tottenham’s greatest-ever player in Harry Kane to being asked to replace the icon up front.
As fans voiced their displeasure towards the Brazilian on social media, his support within the club never faltered. Even before Saturday’s fixture, Postecoglou assured the media & fans that Richarlison still had a significant part to play in this team.
Fans will hope that this performance finally kicks the Brazilian’s Tottenham career into gear. However, though patience was waning at times, it was all worth the wait, as Richarlison has began etching himself into Tottenham Hotspur Folklore.