Lucas backs Coutinho to shine
Published 19/02/2013 | 06:56
Midfielder Lucas Leiva believes Liverpool have secured a significant talent in youngster Philippe Coutinho and the Brazil international will try to help his compatriot settle in quickly.
However, he will spare the 20-year-old £8.5million signing from Inter Milan the harsher details of his own early experiences at Anfield and accentuate the positives. Coutinho marked his full debut following his arrival late in last month's transfer window with the crucial second goal in the 5-0 drubbing of Swansea.
Lucas said: "He is still adapting and we were talking about the pace of the Premier League and even in the training sessions he can feel it is much quicker than Italy. Hopefully he will be a great player for now and for the future as well as he is only 20."
He added: "His reputation is very high back in Brazil but he left the country very early so we couldn't really see him play in the first team.
"At Inter he didn't have as many chances as he thought he would have so here is a new challenge for him and he is really looking forward to it.
"He is trying to play quick because he knows he will need that tempo to be successful. It will take him time to settle but a goal will give him confidence and we could see there were positive things from him."
Lucas, as a fellow Brazilian, naturally feels a certain responsibility towards Coutinho but believes the club's other South American players - Uruguayans Luis Suarez and Sebastian Coates - will also help.
And while he can pass on a huge amount of experience after more than five years at Anfield 26-year-old will skip over his first two seasons when he was the target of fans' disapproval and focus on more upbeat messages.
"Every single young player who comes to the Premier League finds it difficult and it is going to be the same for him but we have a few South American players who can help him," Lucas added.
"He has the skills and the ability to do well. We just need to keep positive with him and hopefully he will be okay. I really don't tell him what I went through in my early stages, I just told him how he will be successful here."