Liverpool midfielder Lucas Leiva has expressed his delight at being called up to the Brazil squad for this summer's Copa America tournament in Argentina.

The 24-year-old South American starlet's finest season so far at Anfield has been rewarded with inclusion in coach Mano Menezes' 22-man squad for the finals which start on 1 July.

Persistent injuries to Reds captain Steven Gerrard has allowed Lucas the opportunity to step up to the Liverpool plate, and Kenny Dalglish has been thoroughly impressed with the commanding performances he has turned in during the second half of the campaign.

Lucas has also been inspirational in the rise of Liverpool academy graduate Jay Spearing, helping him settle in to the first team, with the two players developing an impressive partnership in the middle of the Reds' midfield.


And with the recent addition of Jordan Henderson from Sunderland, twinned with the imminent return of Gerrard, competition for places at Liverpool will be even more fierce in Dalglish's squad next season.

But prior to his return to Melwood ahead of pre-season, Lucas will travel with the rest of the Brazil squad who kick off their Copa America campaign on 3 July with a fixture against Venezuela, followed Paraguay (9 July) and Ecuador (13 July).

Speaking off the back of the squad announcement, Lucas responded with a message on his official twitter page:

"I am very happy to be in the squad to play Copa America. 20th of June i meet the team to start the preparation."

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