Liverpool midfielder Lucas Leiva has revealed how missing out on the Brazilian World Cup squad has helped him become a better player.
The former Gremio star has been instrumental in the Reds' recent revival under Kenny Dalglish, and his outstanding club form has also helped in earning a recall to the international stage for his country.
At 24-years-old, Lucas still has plenty of time to get that World Cup chance, potentially in his homeland in 2014, and hopes to continue improving for both club and country.
"Missing out on last summer's World Cup was a huge disappointment and a bad moment in my career, but being back in the Selecao (Brazilian national team) is something I am very proud of," the player told Liverpool FC magazine.
"In the long term, such a disappointment has made me a stronger person and now, having played the last few games under new coach Mano Menezes, I am very confident."
Lucas has a previous relationship with Menezes, who he spent two seasons playing under at Gremio before making the £5 million move to Merseyside.
The Brazil boss has since followed his progress with Liverpool, and a relationship which led to Lucas winning the Brazilian Footballer of the Year award could come back and flourish on the international stage.
"Mano was my coach at Gremio and I know him well. He also knows my game. When I was at Gremio, I was the attacking midfield player but now I am more defensive. He has watched me play for Liverpool and believes in me - that is important for any player."
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