Liverpool midfield stalwart Lucas Leiva has admitted that he has been watching Xabi Alonso closely, in order to improve his own game.
The Brazilian initially found life difficult after his move to Anfield, sparking displeasure in The Kop over his performances, and looked to Alonso in a bid to turn his career around.
Lucas puts this lengthy bedding-in process down to the need to dramatically change the style of play he was known for as a young player before his arrival at Liverpool.
Rafael Benitez signed the former Gremio man as a box to box driving midfielder, but it quickly became clear that the physicality of the Premier League would stifle this aspect of his game.
The former Brazil Under-20 captain was forced to re-think his game and begun his tutelage as a holding player, sitting in central midfield and protecting the defence.
Lucas cited a number of influences, including Barcelona man Sergio Busquets, but says his former teammate Alonso was his most influential.
He said: "Sergio Busquets is a player who is really good. Of course he has players around him who always help him and always make the simple pass. People can see how good he is.
"Xabi Alonso is a player I always watch and try to learn from. I had a few years with him here and I could see how good he was. Xabi would be my choice at the moment."
Hard work began to pay off for Lucas and, with a steady improvement in form, the boos subsided to become approving murmurings, until he was regularly praised for his hard work and consistency.
His redemption was finally complete last season, when he was confirmed as an Anfield favourite, voted LFC Player of the Season 2010-11.
The 24-year-old has not let his level drop since and the accolades have kept coming, as he has now be named North-West Player of the Year for 2011.
"I am really happy to be voted," he said. "I'm sure all the Liverpool fans worked really hard to make sure I won the award.
“They are always behind me and supporting me, and I'll try to repay them with performances on the pitch.”
Do YOU want to write for GiveMeSport? Get started today by signing-up and submitting an article HERE: http://gms.to/writeforgms