When Luiz Felipe Scolari announced the Brazil squad for the Confederations Cup, most of the Seleccao's fans were shell-shocked.
While the absence of Ronaldinho and Kaka was the most hyped story in the media, equally or more important was the absence of Chelsea's Ramires and Shakhtar Donetsk's Fernandinho.
Whereas these two may not be the most eye-catching players on the pitch, their importance cannot be undermined. While Ramires' decision to pull out of the Brazil squad in March for want of rest cost him his place in the squad, the absence of Fernandinho is even more puzzling.
The absence of these midfield stalwarts means that the Seleccao are short in the defensive midfield area. With only Luiz Fabiano and Paulinho to choose from, the position is far from secure, especially with Scolari preferring a formation with two holding midfielders.
And among these, even though Paulinho can sizzle on his day, is still not of the class of the Seleccao yet. And even though Fabiano played for the all-conquering Bayern Munich team, he was largely second choice to the impressive Javi Martinez. However, one player who can seamlessly slot into the Brazil midfield is Chelsea defender David Luiz.
Even though primarily a defender, the Chelsea man has often been deployed in the holding-midfield role by Rafael Benitez. And not only has he come out unscathed in these outings - he has also vastly impressed.
The shaggy-haired defender has shown an amazing reading of the game from the midfield and has shown amazing skill in breaking up the opposition play. His passing range has also been impressive, with his long passes from deep within midfield often carving out chances for Chelsea.
He has also been assured in possession and has been adept at shuttling the ball quickly to his team-mates. Such was his effectiveness in the role that towards the end of the campaign last season, Luiz found his manager asking him to play in the midfield more often than in the defence. He was also deployed in the holding role in many of Chelsea's most important matches - such as the Europa League semis and finals.
Another advantage of playing Luiz in midfield is that it would clear the way for the hugely impressive Bayern Munich centre-back Dante, who has hardly put a foot wrong for the Bavarians this season.
In the current scenario, Dante finds him outside the starting XI due to the presence of the established duo of Thiago Silva and Luiz. But Dante has also shown that he is indeed capable of stepping up to the role in the England friendly back in March.
A line-up which has Paulinho and Fabiano guarding the likes of Luiz and Thiago Silva look less impressive than a formation in which Luiz and Gustavo are stationed in front of the Dante-Silva duo.
Even though it would seem unwise to split up an impressive and established central defensive partnership just days before a tournament, right now it seems to be the only way in which Scolari can extract the best out of his squad.
The presence of Ramires or Fernandinho could have solved this problem for the Seleccao, but currently Scolari is faced with the dilemma as to whom to start in midfield - a problem of his own making.
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