Chelsea’s David Luiz is arguably the most improved player at the club over the past 12 months and has flourished since Rafael Benitez took over especially, but the Spaniard says this is only the beginning for the defender-cum-midfielder.
The 26-year-old is still capable of a few hairy moments (awful pun intended) but has shown signs of increasing maturity this season as his influence in the team grows. John Terry, amongst others, has even touted him as a potential captain and it’s easy to see why he’s the leading candidate to succeed the 32-year-old and may be named vice-skipper if/when Frank Lampard waves goodbye to Stamford Bridge.
Benitez says this is just the tip of the iceberg for Luiz, he told the club’s official website:
“The good thing about him is that he is really good now.
“He can do a lot of things, almost everything, really well, better than the majority of players. He is still young and keen to learn, so I think he will be even better.”
“He has a lot of positives, a lot of good things, and has improved a lot. He is more mature and will [continue to] improve.”
Benitez also defended the player following the criticism he has received for his smiles and feigning injury whilst Rafael received a red card for kicking out at him on Sunday during the trip to Old Trafford to play Manchester United.
“He is a person that likes to enjoy life.
“He is a very good professional working very hard but he likes to joke because he is a funny person.
“He is very serious and professional and concentrated on his job. He has a good character and mentality to improve and play well. He knows what I want, what we are trying to do, and he is trying to do this in every training session.”
I don’t know whether or not the Brazilian’s future lies on defence or in midfield but believe that he could be successful in either position, although it seems that many are impressed by his recent form in midfield and argue he’s a far greater influence there. If he is to play in the midfield position then I reckon a defensively sound ball-winner should play alongside him as Luiz does like to play like a libero (or free) man in that position.
Luiz has scored seven goals and made five assists for the Blues this season, some special goals too, and has a pass completion rate of over 80% which is especially impressive as he’s known to make the harder ones. He’s improved upon his defensive duties also – making 1.5 tackles and 2.3 interception on average per match.
The only criticisms that I can level at him at the moment are his occasional brain farts and his mean streak as he plays a dangerous game at times. But I can tell that he cares, that he’s genuinely proud to be a Chelsea player and he’s working hard to prove his critics (myself included) wrong. He’s definitely won me over in that respect.