At the start of the 2019/20 season and all the way through until Project Restart, Douglas Luiz was getting his fair share of criticism for his naive performances.
Despite his flashes of brilliance (most notably his assist for Grealish at Brighton and his goals against Bournemouth and Norwich), the criticism he received was most often regarding his sometimes sluggish decisions and lack of consistency in games.
Rightfully so should first-team footballers get criticised by their fans when their team isn’t playing well, and for Villa fans, that was most of the season in 2019/20, but the criticism was often quite harsh on a player who, at the time, was only 21 and playing his second full season in a top 5 European League.
Even now, we should consider Luiz a prospect. He is only 22. We’ve got to put that into perspective. At the same age, Jack Grealish was playing Championship football in a Steve Bruce team totalling only 9 goal contributions over the whole season (30 appearances).
Now while 9 goal contributions for Luiz would be considered a great season, they are of course different style players in different positions. My point is, however, Jack was still considered a prospect at the age of 22, whilst in the Championship. Luiz, at the same age, is playing at a far more difficult level than Jack was and is excelling. This is encapsulated by the fact he is a now a regular in Brazil’s national team, keeping out Fabinho most notably in the starting eleven.
Luiz – “The prospect”
Villa fans have never really seen Luiz as a prospect. His footballing background does justify this for a number of reasons. Manchester City brought him over from Vasco De Gama in 2016, and then he went out on loan to Girona for the 2018/19 season.
The fact that he came in from Manchester City I think clouded some fan’s minds. He came to Villa from a squad who had just won 198 points in the previous two Premier League seasons, and I believe this put some unjust pressure on his performances.
The idea that he’s coming from this Manchester City squad from the fan’s perspective must have meant he’s the real deal. But he had only made 86 senior appearances before his move to Villa Park, scoring only 5 goals in Brazilian senior football.
Douglas Luiz doesn’t play like a 22-year-old. He’s removed his naivety from his game and is becoming an assured deep-lying playmaker for Dean Smith. But Villa fans should be aware that we’ve got a player who is something special here.
Luiz’s potential, I believe, exceeds, Grealish’s. There is no doubt in my mind that Douglas Luiz will go on to play for one of the best footballing teams in the world. He already has the technical ability but, at Villa, he is developing other aspects of his game, most notably his decision-making. He is also becoming a far more mature player.
We should enjoy Douglas Luiz this season because sooner or later someone who has money will realise how special of a player he actually is. Man City already might have. UTV
Article submitted by Ben Shortland.