Liverpool defender Fabio Aurelio has praised the exploits of Reds teammate Lucas Leiva in the 2010/11 campaign, and has backed his Brazilian compatriot to be a key player at Anfield for many years to come.

The 24-year-old South American midfielder was voted Liverpool's Player of the Season, having found a new lease of life under Kenny Dalglish following his interim appointment in January.

Lucas found the transition to life in England a testing challenge in his early Anfield days, but Aurelio believes the samba star has finally found his feet, and that is now starting to bear fruit for Liverpool.

"Everyone can see how different he is now from when he first arrived in England," Aurelio told LFC Weekly. "He is much more mature, stronger physically and knows more about how to win games.

"I think he has shown great personality and capability to change things around. We remember that at the beginning the fans were not very happy with him but he was patient and remained concentrated on his work and now we can see that he is a man who can do the job," he continued.


The £5million signing from Gremio in 2007, was recently rewarded for his fine Reds form with the offer of a new long-term Liverpool contract.

Now with his future sorted, Lucas can focus fully on continuing to turn in the sort of performances that won him the seasonal accolade, and Aurelio is confident his teammate will continue to flourish.

"He deservedly has a new contract with the club and we hope that he can spend a lot of years here in Liverpool because he can be a great player for us, just like he was last season."

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