Gilberto Silva said Paris Saint-Germain star Neymar has a lot of room to grow after being handed the Brazil captaincy.
Neymar was named permanent captain following Tite's decision to scrap his rotation policy after the World Cup in Russia, where the Selecao were surprisingly eliminated in the quarter-finals.
Wearing the armband, Neymar made a winning start as captain – scoring in Brazil's 2-0 victory over the United States in Friday's international friendly.
Dia de acordar com um sorriso no rosto para a #SeleçãoBrasileira, após a vitória de ontem! 😁🇧🇷⚽ #GigantesPorNatureza— CBF Futebol (@CBF_Futebol) September 8, 2018
Brasil 2 x 0 EUA - Gols de Firmino e Neymar Jr.
Foto: Lucas Figueiredo/CBF pic.twitter.com/BQVMeAkEpp
Neymar was heavily criticised at the World Cup after exaggerating fouls but former Brazil midfielder and captain Silva believes the captaincy will help the 26-year-old become more responsible.
"I believe they want to protect Neymar more because of the criticism he received at the World Cup," ex-Arsenal skipper Silva said.
"And also to remind him that he has a greater responsibility towards the team, for what he represents and in the football world.
"The captaincy is for him to understand responsibility as something positive, as a personal growth.
"It's important to keep his focus and to put the criticism aside. He still has a lot to do in terms of growing."
Neymar will lead Brazil against minnows El Salvador in Maryland on Tuesday at 8:20pm ET / 5:20pm PT. Watch the game live on beIN SPORTS or beIN SPORTS CONNECT 4