Tottenham acting head coach Ryan Mason has challenged Richarlison to finish the campaign strongly and give supporters a glimpse of what could be in store next season.
The Brazil international has endured a difficult first year at Spurs, scoring only three goals in 33 appearances following a £60million move from Everton last July.
Richarlison himself described his season as ‘s***’ in March and even when he got off the mark for Tottenham in the Premier League at Anfield last month his celebrations were cut short after Diogo Jota netted a stoppage-time winner.
It saw West Ham forward Michail Antonio and Newcastle striker Callum Wilson make fun of Richarlison on The Footballer’s Football podcast after previous occasions where he took his top off only to be denied by the offside flag.
Interim boss Mason made his feelings known on the behaviour of Antonio and Wilson while backing his player to shine ahead of Saturday’s last home game of the season against Brentford
“As a coach, I wouldn’t do it and as a player, I’ve never done it as well,” former Tottenham and Hull midfielder Mason insisted.
“I don’t really like that type of thing. We’re all trying to do our best, we’re all professionals, we’re working hard.
“We dedicate our lives to get to this level and to compete at this level, so I don’t really like that type of thing personally.
“Richy, I don’t think he’s thinking about other players. I think it is his own pride and his own determination that will probably drive that most of all.
“Maybe he’s heard it, maybe seen it? Maybe. Maybe it might give him a little bit more (motivation). I’m not sure.
“He’s a fighter, who works hard, trains hard and I’ve never seen someone that’s shirked responsibility.
“Yes, of course, we would have wanted more goals and he would have wanted more goals from himself, but that’s not happened.
“Hopefully now he can influence the last two games and score goals to help us.
“And then I’m sure come pre-season, he’ll come back full of energy to really show us what he’s really all about.”
Goals for Richarlison will help ensure Spurs bid farewell to their campaign at Tottenham Hotspur Stadium on a positive note.
It has been a difficult campaign on and off the pitch, with the club searching for a new head coach and managing director of football while chairman Daniel Levy continues to feel the ire of the fanbase at home and away fixtures.
Mason wants to give the supporters on Saturday plenty to shout about, he added: “It’s part of our job, it’s our duty to go there and show the energy.
“You naturally understand the frustration because it’s been an up-and-down season and we’ve been quite inconsistent.
“So, it’s normal that fans feel that, but ultimately the fans are coming to the stadium, they work hard, they pay their money and they’re coming to support us.
“That’s the first thought in their mind and as a group of players representing the club, we want to show our appreciation and show the energy to try and get a positive result.”
While Richarlison is the future of Tottenham, Lucas Moura will soon be the past, with Saturday set to be his final home outing ahead of his summer departure.
Another forward that Spurs have big hopes for is teenager Dane Scarlett, who is out in Argentina with England for the Under-20 World Cup.
Scarlett recently returned to Hotspur Way after a challenging loan spell at Portsmouth where he scored six goals in 40 appearances.
But Mason said: “I have seen Dane in the last week or so since he came back and he looks different from a physical point of view.
“You can feel that he has played men’s football so from that point of view I am sure he is in a better place than he was 12 months ago.
“But at the same time going into an Under-20 World Cup, it is a great opportunity for him and probably a different style and different type of football he will come up against.
“I am sure he will go into that challenge full of confidence.”