Everyone doubted him.
From pundits, journalists, fans and even Liverpool fans. No, he’s not anywhere good enough. Not a Liverpool first teamer by any stretch of the imagination. Surplus to requirements. It’s time to flog him off. I too, was his critic during his early Liverpool days.
I couldn’t get my head around the fact that he won Brazil’s Golden Ball (Bola de Ouro). Some of them greatest Brazilians to ever grace the pitch of all time – Zico, Kaka, just to name a few off my head. I couldn’t get my head around the fact that he was Brazil’s U20 Captain. He doesn’t look commanding. How was he then, achieving the accolades that his times at Brazil had entrusted upon him?
I clearly didn’t quite know.
Lucas’ performances in his early Liverpool days have resulted in lashings from even his own fans, acclaimed to be the most knowledgeable supporters in football. Criticisms poured in. The odds were firmly stacked against him. He lost the faith from fans other Liverpool players routinely enjoyed. How was he going to turn things around?
Even the door was nearly slammed shut on him, when it was revealed that Christian Purslow wanted Lucas out – to service those debts of course.
But he had two firm believers of his vast talent – something the fans didn’t take on board initially. Rafa Benitez, and Roy Hodgson.
When Rafa signed Lucas, he remarked: ” I am looking forward to seeing him score goals for Liverpool in the future and [we] believe he has the mentality and the character you need to do well in England”.
And Roy Hodgson defiantly defied Purslow’s advice – going against it. He had faith in his talent. Even when he showed glimpses of it towards the end of the 09/10 season – we were skeptical at best. Was he peaking? Was this is true potential? That’s all?
Thankfully, the continued persistence of Rafa and Roy has paid off. Tremendously. Today, Lucas is a key cog in a dynamic Liverpool midfield. His blossoming midfield partnership with Raul Meireles had paid dividends and reaped countless benefits. Lucas has emerged from being an average squad player, to one of the best, if not the best Liverpool player this season.
I have been impressed by Lucas’ enthusiasm for the game. His hardworking and industrious nature has really warmed the fans’ hearts on cold wintery days, like those against Villa last Monday. His insistence on slogging out in the gym during days off in summer stood him in good stead.
This season, his performances have finally forced the Anfield faithful to eat humble pie. You could barely hear a word of discontent now in every shift Lucas puts in. His attitude has rubbed off a positive vibe on his team mates. And Lucas sets an exemplary example for any other player out there – defy your critics and prove yourself.
And certainly he has. The way he sets himself up, the way he goes on to dominate the midfield has not gone unnoticed on the Liverpool faithful.
You raised the standards Lucas, you defied the odds. You changed the minds of all fans from pole to pole.
Now, Roy Hodgson will have a selection headache to deal with when Gerrard returns from injury. And a very good one at that.
To Lucas, sorry for our rash decisions on your talent….. And keep up your fantastic work! It was your faith in your own talent that did you a world of wonders.