Football

Lucas: I am a more complete player now

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Liverpool midfielder Lucas Leiva believes his time in England so far has made him develop into a better player.

The Brazilian - who joined the club six years ago from Gremio - came to the club with a reputation of making things happen from an attacking viewpoint, but that has all changed now, with the 26-year-old deployed in a defensive holding role in midfield.

He started off in this role with Rafael Benitez before also becoming a regular under the likes of Kenny Dalglish and Brendan Rodgers, a position where Lucas believes he has made steady improvements in after initially struggling to adapt to life in England.

He told FIFA.com: "I was 20 when I arrived in English football back in 2007. I was coming from Gremio, where I'd already had first-team football.

"I felt as if I was moving at 50km/hour while everyone else on the field was at 100. I wasn't prepared for that and needed to develop both physically and tactically.

"That's why many players choose not to go directly from Brazil to England. In Spain and Portugal, and even in Italy, the pace of the game is different.

"So much so, in fact, that early on I performed better in Champions League games than in the Premiership. In terms of the speed of the game, it was like going from one extreme to the other.

"With Gremio I carried an element of surprise, and on many occasions operated practically as a central midfielder.

"However, due to the pace of the Premier League, I changed positions. Even though I was 20, I couldn't cope with the demands of joining the attacks and tracking back all game long.

"Benitez soon realised that I felt more comfortable playing in a deeper role, winning back possession and starting attacks.

"Nowadays I'm so comfortable with this position that it feels like I've always operated in it.

"I am, without question, a more complete player now because, should the match scenario require it, I can even play a more attacking role."

Lucas played the full 90 minutes as Liverpool got off to the perfect start this season beating Stoke 1-0 at Anfield.

With the additions Rodgers had made to the squad they will be confident of pushing closer for the top four this time around, after finishing seventh last year in Rodgers maiden season.

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Topics:
Football
Lucas
Leiva Lucas
Liverpool

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This article has been written by a member of the GiveMeSport Writing Academy and does not represent the views of GiveMeSport.com or SportsNewMedia. The views and opinions expressed are solely that of the author credited at the top of this article. GiveMeSport.com and SportsNewMedia do not take any responsibility for the content of its contributors.

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