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Middlesbrough boss Southgate backing Alves for Brazil recall

Middlesbrough boss Gareth Southgate is confident Afonso Alves can play his way back into the Brazil squad.

Southgate told the official club website: "If Afonso scores goals for us then his name will be in the spotlight and that can only help his chances."

Alves has hit nine goals since arriving at the club in January and Southgate hopes he will eventually go on to repeat the goal-scoring form that persuaded him to shell out over £12 million to bring him from Heerenveen in Holland.

"Afonso is an outstanding finisher," he added. "What we've got to do is create more chances for him because he showed against Blackburn what he's capable of doing.

"To be fair, we've not created much for him in the last two or three games, but if we do create chances for him then he will score goals.

"He scored in six in seven starts last season and has three in nine this time around.

"His scoring record in Holland was in a completely different league with different challenges to the ones he has now, but the time to assess his scoring record is at the end of the season, not a few games in.

"But there's a lot more to come from Afonso, I'm sure of it."

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