Former Napoli manager Gianni Di Marzio has been speaking to TMW Radio about Aston Villa star Douglas Luiz.
The 80-year-old said: ‘During the Toulon tournament, I was impressed by a playmaker called Douglas Luiz, who seems ready for the jump in Italy. He’s 22 and seems to me among the best in his role.
‘Now he’s at Aston Villa, and has also been called up for Brazil. He’s very technical, he acts like a filter in front of the defence. A little like Miralem Pjanić, so to speak. He anticipates the opponent well.’
It is interesting to see the £15 million man receiving praise from across Europe, despite not playing for a side who can offer him the chance to display his ability on the European stage.
Since arriving at Villa Park from Manchester City last summer, Luiz has shone and is proving to be a fantastic signing by Dean Smith.
Luiz’s efforts have helped Villa win five of those games, and as a result, they are just three points off the top of the table with a game in hand.
Di Marzio describes the Brazil international as a ‘playmaker’ although Luiz’s defensive numbers this season also deserve some attention.
While he most certainly is a ‘playmaker’, the Villa No.6 records 1.4 interceptions and one tackle per game in the Premier League this season according to WhoScored, while also committing 1.7 fouls per game.
He is equally adept at breaking up play as he is when controlling it.
With plenty of time of his side, who knows how good the Brazilian could become.
In other news, Report: Liverpool's Diogo Jota could be back this month